CHESTER – Trash cans were removed at the Wason Pond Conservation and Recreation Area in an effort to reduce stray trash on site but the effort hasn’t worked, and selectmen have asked that the barrels be replaced.
The area is carry in/carry out, which means that users are not supposed to leave their trash behind. But a quick perusal of most public spaces will show that some people don’t care where their trash ends up, and Wason Pond hasn’t escaped that indifference.
In response to overfilled trash cans and debris strewn about, selectman and maintenance liaison Rich LeBlanc suggested removing the barrels from the park, in hopes of forcing people to take their trash with them.
But the effort hasn’t worked. Reportedly some people will throw their trash down whether or not there’s a barrel there for it. At the selectmen’s July 11 meeting, selectman Jack Cannon raised concerns about the trash he was seeing at Wason Pond.
“My guess is that people are just throwing their trash on the ground now,” said Cannon, before listing a number of the things, from beer bottles to coffee cups, he had seen there, both in the main areas and on the many trails.
The intended purpose of removing the barrels was a good one, said Cannon, but there were unintended results.
Cannon suggested putting back the barrels, at least at the Community Center parking lot, playground parking lot and near the bridge to the beach, and asking the Wason Pond Commission about potentially placing additional barrels.
Selectman Chair Steph Landau agreed with Cannon’s assessment, and noted that recently the company that provides the portable toilet had complained that the toilet was filled with trash.
In response, selectman Rich LeBlanc said that the signage into the property should be improved, but he was considering gating the property on off hours. The property is open dawn to dusk.
LeBlanc said much of the trash issues were coming from after hours use of the property.
Selectman Joe Castricone noted the police had arrested people for misusing the property.
There is also a ban on smoking and the use of alcohol at Wason Pond. Cannon took exception with how quickly the matter escalated.
“We were talking about trash and now you’re talking about gates and arresting people. Just put the cans there so it doesn’t look like a dump,” said Cannon. All board members except for LeBlanc voted to replace the trash cans.