1. One of the most prominent and valuable assets of the Town of Fairhaven is the hurricane-protected anchorage at Oxford Village that extends from the Rt 6 Bridge and the I-195 Bridge to the north. The Rt 6 in fact provides a second hurricane barrier. In this approximately 1 mile stretch lies the most historic part of Fairhaven, with countless historic monuments that extend back nearly 350 years to the first settlement in the area. With the anchorage at Oxford Village located just 1.15 hours from Boston, and with the prospects of a commuter rail connection to that city, this area should have been considered as one of Fairhaven’s most valuable assets.
Yet, there seems to exist no plan for the development of this asset; the Director of Tourism for the Town is undermining the significance of Cooke Memorial Park (one of its key assets); and, staff of the Town (the Director of Economic Development & Plans) has facilitated the EPA Region One conversion of the Oxford Village anchorage into a dump site for PCB dredgings and other toxic substances. These actions are highly questionable, and point to inexperience, incompetence or worse.
2. I have sent a letter of complaint with respect to Town staff actions with respect to Cooke Memorial Park that criticizes the purposeful attempt by some of its staff to undermine the importance and integrity of one of those assets, while pointing out inability of such staff to have prepared any master plan for the Town’s tourist industry. This includes the failure to oppose the EPA’s construction of PCB dredging dumpsites in their immediate proximity. Since no Master Plan for this historic area with its 350-year old burial site seems to have ever been prepared, either through the Town’s Dept of Planning & Economic Development or the Office of Tourism, a committee of citizens arranged to have a professional research scientist associated with leading universities undertake a study of Cooke Memorial Park using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). The GPR was completed on May 16, 2017.
The conclusions are that Cooke Memorial Park is the burial site for as many as 60 graves, and should be immediately recognized as a cemetery and a historical site for burials that were ongoing for at least 200 years. Historically this area was known as the “Burial Hill at Oxford Village” until at least 1902. There is now unquestionable scientific evidence of the scores of graves that continue to be there.
3. The Final Environmental Impact Report (“FEIR), on which the EPA relied to build a massive dump site for PCB dredgings (“DMMP”) just yards from the oldest and most historic residential area of Fairhaven at Oxford Village, failed to discuss any aspect of the Town’s historic sites, monuments and schools which were in direct proximity to that EPA dump site. This EPA action was a violation of standard environmental impact report requirements, is now impacting the health and property rights of Fairhaven citizens, and is representative of the deliberate fabrications EPA Region One undertook to manipulate the DMMP into existence. The report from the professional ground investigator certifies that a key cultural monument of the historic Oxford Village (Cooke Memorial Park) lies barely 100 to 200 yards away from the EPA CAD cell into which the EPA continues to dump toxic PCB sediments.
Because the DMMP attacks the Town’s Cultural Heritage, is a threat to public health, and adversely impacts the Town’s tourism & economic potential with it being placed adjacent to Fairhaven’s most historic area, we urge the Board of Selectmen to require the EPA Auditor General to begin an investigation to determine if the actions by EPA Region One were a deliberate attack on the Town and its cultural heritage.
In addition to this request, we are also requesting that you take all possible actions within the BOS control to prevent the continued demeaning and degradation of this burial site (1) through the actions of Town employees, (2) the placing of misleading information in the Town’s communications systems, and (3) the continuing acquiescence to the EPA’s dumping of carcinogenic PCB dredgings in the Oxford Village anchorage, which lies in direct proximity to Fairhaven’s most historic assets and one of its key operating schools.
Dr. Paul B. Spooner, CFA, Fairhaven
Click here to download the entire 6/15/17 issue: 06-15-17 OldStoneSchoolhouse