August 23rd, 2019

Berlin Pond Belongs to All Vermonters


It’s time to accept that Vermont’s own Capital District has no intention of being a good neighbor when it comes to Berlin Pond. After denying Vermonters access to this commonly held body of water for a hundred years, after losing in their claim in the Supreme Court, after two years of recreational access with no ill effects, even after being instructed by the ANR that reasonable recreational access poses no threat to their water supply, the elected leaders of Montpelier continue to insist on denying other Vermonters their Constitutional rights. All in the name of hyperbolic and imagined threats that the responsible state agencies have debunked.

Since Mayor Hollar and Representative Kitzmiller show no sign of slowing down in their efforts to whip up emotion in order to overwhelm reason, it’s time to put an end to this. Rep. Warren Kitzmiller of Montpelier has promised legislative action in order to satisfy the idle whims of his constituents and while I find his motivations suspect and his endstate abhorrent, I have to agree with the mechanism. It’s time to get the Legislature involved. Vermonters’ right to access boatable waters under reasonable regulation is written into our Constitution and really isn’t within the purview of the Legislature to nullify, but the privilege extended to Montpelier allowing them to draw cheap, gravity-fed water from a pond belonging to all Vermonters was granted by the Legislature and can just as easily be withdrawn. It’s time to re-examine the continued extension of that privilege.

Instead of gratitude and a willingness to work with and recognize all Vermonters’ right to access the pond, Montpelier has instead interpreted their special privilege as an entitlement trumping all other Vermonters’ rights. Since Montpelier has demonstrated they cannot be trusted to exercise their privilege responsibly, it’s well past time for them to lose that privilege. This should be done reasonably, allowing sufficient time for Montpelier to fund and build any number of alternative water sources but allowing the continued spoiled and entitled behavior of Montpelier’s leaders without repercussion will only encourage them to insist on their special status and make demands that they expect us all to pay for, either financially or by foregoing our own rights, to satisfy their baseless fears.

Patrick Cashman


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