Editorial: Tension dissipates at Water Advisory Committee meeting

Water quality and quantity are among the most significant issues for Islanders who are largely dependent on private wells. A significant issue is really an understatement, since the last two Town Hall administrations have spent the majority of their time coming to grips with poisoned ground and surface waters.

The Water Advisory Committee (WAC) has always been one of the most important bodies established by the board to provide guidance on how to best measure quantity and assess quality, as well as to provide advice on how to respond to droughts and contamination.

Accordingly, those appointed to the WAC have, in many instances, brought a wealth of knowledge to the table, along with a willingness to explore and recommend the best sources of assistance when outside consultants have been needed.

The current committee members are among the best in terms of their knowledge, individual experiences with water issues, a willingness to put in the time to research theories, and find solutions.

But as sometimes happens with the best of groups, there have been times when tension has been present among people pushing their own theories, while not paying heed to others.

We couldn’t help notice that tension at recent meetings between Town Engineer John Cronin and other members of the committee who wanted to substitute their opinions for his knowledge.

Given the importance of the work of the WAC, we, along with some residents, were concerned. Mr. Cronin’s role is to bring his many years of training and experience as a professional engineer to bear. His long tenure with the town, and caring about the place he calls home, make his contributions considerable.

Fortunately, at the Feb. 24 WAC meeting, we witnessed a turnaround — a willingness by others to listen to his advice.

It was a breath of fresh air at meetings that at times can be quietly contentious, and should give Islanders every hope that this vital committee will continue on this path of cooperation with one another. We hope each member will continue to recognize the special knowledge the others bring to the table and salute a job well done at a critical juncture for the Island.