Representatives for both the Sprint and Verizon telephone networks requested the Westfield Town Board's permission to make changes to their towers located in the town at a recent meeting.
The Sprint tower is on Douglas Road, while the Verizon tower is on Peoples Road. In each case, the planned changes are intended to add capacity for better cellphone coverage. After the changes are made, most area customers will have access to 4G rather than 3G networks.
Representatives of the networks assured board members that with the requested changes, the towers will not have a larger footprint than they do now, nor will they need additional lighting, so there should be no impact on nearby residents. The Peoples Road tower will add a backup generator, which will allow for continued cellphone reception in the event of a power outage. The generator will be in use only for occasional testing, other than for its emergency use.
The board accepted the requests of both companies, and work is expected to be completed by early summer.
Supervisor Martha Bills reported that the Army Corps of Engineers expects to begin dredging the federal channel portion of Barcelona Harbor around mid-June.
Other parts of the harbor will be dredged if the town receives permission to dump its sediment in the same area as the Army Corps. The extent of the additional dredging is dependent upon available funding. The town will receive $50,000 for the project from the Chautauqua County Legislature, and $20,000 from the Lake Erie Management Commission. State funds may also be available, but the amount, if any, has not been determined. The town has also budgeted $90,000 for the project.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking area volunteers to learn to test the quality of the streams in the Chautauqua Lake Watershed.
Under the DEC's WAVE program, volunteers lead groups to perform "Kick sampling" of the water in the Chautauqua gorge or neighboring streams. The groups collect macroinvertebrates, such as the adult or immature stages of flies, beetles, dragonflies, aquatic worms and snails.
Unlike fish, these populations are relatively immobile, so they are good indicators of environmental stresses because they have predictable responses to changes in the local environment. Volunteers who complete the full-day training sessions will be ready to train and coordinate their own team of volunteer evaluators.
Residents interested in the day of training on June 1 should contact Alene Onion at email@example.com.