Connecticut DEEP Responds to Community Questions About Candlewood Lake Boat Launch
The State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) held a Public Information meeting on March 4, 2021 during which designs were released of the state's ideas for the Candlewood Lake State boat launch at Squantz Cove in New Fairfield. The CT DEEP asked for the public's questions and comments about the plan after it was revealed. Recently, The State released a summary of 47 of these comments or questions, and CT DEEP's response.
CT DEEP has broken the comments and questions down into 10 categories:
- Scope/Size of Project
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Issues
- Aquatic Invasive Species Issues
- Water Quality
- Overall Layout
- Financial Issues
- Park Issues
The CT DEEP notes that the questions and recommendations have been combined and shortened a bit due to volume and redundancy, and the DEEP responses have been made collectively. I will do the same.
I've read through all 47 comments/suggestions, you can read them all yourself by clicking HERE, Here are a few that I thought addressed important issues with the State's plan for the Candlewood Lake boat launch in New Fairfield.
Scope/Size of Project
The comment posted -The lake is already very crowded, and the number of boats leaving this ramp at high speeds in the morning are a hazard to other lake users. Adding parking and boat trailer space must be studied at this location, as the Squantz Pond traffic is already a huge issue. By adding capacity in this same area, local traffic will be absurd.
DEEP's response - The launch capacity will be returning to its original designation of 100 cars with trailers (Currently, it's 75). In addition, the renovated launch will be displacing many picknickers who may have utilized that portion of the park thereby offsetting some of the additional uses.
The question posted - Is there, or has there been an environmental impact study for the project?
DEEP's response - No, this project doesn't pose a significant threat to the environment, and doesn't meet the threshold to trigger a study according to CT guidelines set forth in the RCSA.
Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Issues
The comment posted - The area for handicapped parking seems to be in the middle of the launch area, it looks to be a difficult place to have people with disabilities.
DEEP's response - We will modify this setup as much as we can to make it safer, while still complying with ADA slope requirements.
Aquatic and Invasive Species Issues
The comment posted - Use space gained by reducing parking to add infrastructure dedicated to invasive species inspection, disposal, and decontamination.
DEEP's response - The DEEP is considering measures at the launch to help prevent the introduction and transmission of invasive species. This may include the use of a washdown station.
The comment posted - Please do not pave the parking lot. This would be so environmentally unfriendly
DEEP's response - Initially, the parking lot will not be paved. However, it costs more to maintain a gravel lot, and gravel lots can form potholes and ruts that could possible damage vehicle, however, this recommendation will be considered.
The comment posted - The car top launch area is where I see trouble, they will park right in the middle of the launch. I'd like to see the grassy area on the right to use for car tops.
DEEP's response - Carry-in boaters will have a designated area to use. Our experience is that this system works.
The question posted - Will there be gates?
DEEP's response - We're considering it for when the launch is filled to capacity
The comment posted - Expand the restrooms, so boaters can return to the launch and use them
DEEP's response - The inclusion of a fixed public toilet, as proposed, will address boaters' needs.
The comment posted - Provide additional space for boaters to prep for launch
DEEP's response - We're considering removing the island in the turning area, and adding another section for rigging boats
The comment posted - Who is going to monitor the docks? In the Summer, there are people who swim by the ramp, which is very dangerous
DEEP's response - Swimming by State boat launches is illegal. Our Boating Education Assistants, EnCon Officers, and Park and Field Services maintenance staff will report violations or respond accordingly.
The question posted - Will the new docks have rubber bumpers and stable pilots, like Lillinonah?
Deep's response - Yes
The Comment posted - Please use solar lighting for the most part
DEEP's response - The streetlight will be solar powered only
The question posted - Will the launch have night lights for fishing?
DEEP's response - Yes, a solar powered streetlight is in the design
The comment posted - Please keep the park as natural as possible
DEEP's response - The DEEP tries to renovate facilities with environmental considerations. However, we must comply with ADA guidelines concerning surfaces and slopes, while also striving to reduce maintenance and repair costs.
The question posted - Is there a timeline for the project? Will it impact scheduled tournaments?
DEEP's response - Once the design is complete, the permits will have to be obtained. This could take 6 months or so. Construction will occur after that. However, there are no set timelines. We're aiming at having the work conducted in the off-season to minimize impacts to boating access.
The CT DEEP also states that if you have additional comments or questions regarding the Candlewood Lake State boat launch at Squantz Cove in New Fairfield, you should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The will continue to review comments and suggestions and discuss them with the project engineer over the coming weeks.