Today is: Sunday, January 19, 2020
National Award-winning,
Family-run Newspaper

Established 1891
Callicoon, NY | 845-887-5200
Monticello, NY | 845-794-7942
To immediately access any story, please enter the Story Number in the above box.
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Columnists > Smallwood

Smallwood - September 20

Sep 19, 2019

By Jonathan C. Hyman - community correspondent

Another Smallwood summer has come and gone but the nearly two-decade ongoing saga of access to the Toronto Reservoir knows no season. Located in the back of Smallwood all the way down Pine Grove Road, an access road to the reservoir running through the private, Chapin Estate housing development -- a gated community with homes built on large lots -- has been open and then closed with a locked gate intermitently over many, many years. A triangulated battle over this road and the use of the reservoir itself, continues to rage. The developer of the Chapin Estate and some of its residents want the this access point closed claiming an existing access at Moscoe Road off of Rt. 55 in White Lake is more than sufficient. The citizens group Friends of Toronto and the Smallwood Civic Association have asserted their legal right to keep the access road open for the use of the reservoir they say is guaranteed to all citizens by illustrating there is language in a license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to the owner of the reservoir, currently Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, that makes this so.
(Eagle Creek uses the reservoir to make hydro-electric power.)
The fight for access was necessarily legal, but the underlying battle cry has social class underpinnings, and this has resonated well with Smallwoodians. While the issue of the road remaining open and the guarantee of access seems to have been settled -- at least for now - a number of prickly issues are always posed to poke. While the general public would like to use the reservoir for boating, swimming and recreational enjoyment, recently others lobbied the NY State Department of Health to remove the right to swim at the Reservoir, claiming essentially that a swimming beach at the reservoir is a nuisance and has a negative quality of life impact on them and their community. This issue was decided in favor of the bathers in suits.
Representatives from Eagle Creek appeared at the Civic Association's August general meeting and discussed openly both the FERC license, which is up for a thirty-year renewal, and issues related to road access and use of the reservoir. While they pledged to be more prompt in maintaining the access road in proper driving condition and said the company was committed to keeping access open, Eagle Creek got an earful about a number of things, including the request to treat the Toronto Reservoir parking and boating facilities as well as they treat the facilities at the nearby Swinging Bridge Reservoir.
After the meeting the Friends of Toronto issued a call to Smallwoodians and all others who enjoy Toronto to write a physical letter to FERC requesting that the following items be included in Eagle Creek's license renewal: 1. The road leading to the beach, after Pine Grove Road, should be inspected twice a year and repaired in the spring. (This road was not repaired until mid-July.)
2. The boat launch should be concrete to allow more stability than the gravel there now. 3. The vegetation at the launch site and parking lot needs to be cleared away every year. 4. Prominent welcome signs need to be located at the beach parking lot and Pine Grove access road. (Currently there is a large sign discouraging people from entering onto the access road.) Letters should be addressed to Secretary of FERC, 888 First Street, Washington, D.C. 20426. All letters should refer to FERC Project # 10482/
The Bethel Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring a trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York City. On Saturday, November 9th, buses will leave the Duggan School parking lot at 8 a.m. for an 11 a.m. show. The seats are in the second mezzanine. There will be time after the show for lunch on your own before heading home. The final registration date is September 26th from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Bethel Recreation Center located at the Duggan School. Payment is due at registration and it's cash or checks only. (If seats remain after the registration dates, payments will be accepted at the town hall.) The cost of the trip includes show ticket and coach bus seat: Bethel youth (ages 3 to 21): $45. Non-resident youth (ages 3-21): $65. Bethel adults: $60. Non-resident adults: $80.
Keep in touch.

Copyright © 2020 - Sullivan County Democrat