Manchester Township Plans Ahead

Manchester Town Hall (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

MANCHESTER – Mayor Ken Palmer gave an update on the ongoing repairs to the water tower near Town Hall, as scaffolding has been slowly creeping up toward its dome. The mayor said that once the scaffolding reaches the top, the next step is to remove the dome-like apparatus.

“That’s when the real work begins,” he shared, adding that crews will begin maintenance on the inside and outside of the tower at the same time, using drop seats to paint both sides for about six to seven weeks.

He also thanked residents for their patience in abiding by the outside watering restrictions during the tower maintenance, which took effect for residents in the township’s Eastern Service Area, primarily along Route 37, back on September 11.

“Our usage is significantly down and it does make a difference,” he said.

Lake Planning

It may or may not be too early to discuss the state of Harry Wright and Pine lakes, as the summer season just came to a close, but after a resident asked what their status might be for the 2018 summer season, he received an answer.

Mayor Palmer stressed that each lake has different issues, but that overall the situation seems to be improving.

When it comes to Harry Wright Lake, he said, “We felt that the Geese Chasers worked, so we’re going to retain them again this year.”

Geese Chasers LLC is a company the township brought on last year that uses border collies to chase geese away from lakes. The mayor also said they’ll be trying out flashing sensors that float on the water to detract the birds.

Another plan is to try and increase the water flow as much as possible, as he said one of the big problems with Harry Wright is that it gets very hot and dry in the summer, which creates problems.

Harry Wright Lake was closed in late July because water testing results were above the limits allowed for swimming, notably after a particular hot and dry stretch of weather.

When it comes to Pine Lake, one plan is to try and remove an excess of stumps in order to increase water flow. Mayor Palmer also thought there might be enough flashing sensors to use here as well.

Wildfire Safety Council

The township will also be forming a Wildfire Safety Council (WSC), which residents at the council meeting were highly appreciative of, especially in light of recent wildfires that have burned through more than 50,000 acres of California’s wine country and forced nearly 20,000 people from their homes.

The WSC, which will be made up of five mayor-appointed members, will have a goal to increase education, training and fire prevention efforts within the township by seeking grant funds, performing outreach and acting as a link to Manchester and Whiting Fire Companies during evacuation and training efforts.

Examples of its role is ensuring that fire retardant building materials are being used in fire-prone areas, and coordinating planning efforts to make sure fuel breaks are being constructed in new developments.

An ideal team would be the township office of emergency management coordinator, fire chief, a local businesses or company with an interest in wildfires, such as an insurance or utility company, and interested residents.