Thompson residents still waiting for answers about blasting
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Thu., Feb. 6, 2014
Thompson Planning and Zoning Commission members were peppered with repeated questions from residents at their Jan. 27 meeting. Concerns about renewing a permit for blasting on 307 Reardon Road have been raised for months by residents claiming damage to their homes, wells and properties. The meeting ended with no information provided on past blast permits applications or whether the blasting company, Maine Drilling and Blasting, had a certificate of insurance when it started work.
Peter Alter, attorney for French River Materials, told the commission that pre-blast surveys were being offered to residents prior to a test blast scheduled for early February. French River Materials hired GeoSonics to conduct the surveys, which include taking photographs of property and placing seismographs to record the test blast. The Northeast District Department of Health is conducting tests on wells in the area as well.
French River Materials has protection from Maine Drilling and Blasting damages, Alter said. Harold Hopkins of French River Materials added, “We don’t want a blaster doing any damage.”
Brenda Bennett isn’t convinced that GeoSonics or the pre-blast tests will be objective. Bennett claims her Riverside Drive home was damaged in previous blasts. She bought her home six years ago and said an inspection report listed none of the damage she now has. “GeoSonics told me to turn in the damage report to my insurance company,” Bennett said. “They said, ‘You pay for it. Why don’t you use it?’”
If she does, her rates will most likely rise. They did for Neil Pattell, who owns a liquor store on Riverside Drive. He believes the blasts damaged floor joists in the commercial building. Blasts shook the floor on a few occasions, he said. “You could hear the floor bouncing because of the weight of the bottles,” he said. Now 27 steel poles hold up supports, each made of three 2-inch by 10-inch boards, in the basement.
Donat Charon complained that GeoSonics only took pictures of the damage to his home. “They never took pictures of what is in excellent condition,” he said.
“Take pictures yourself,” commission member John Lenky said. “Hire your own company.”
Thompson Director of Planning and Development Mary Ann Chinatti voiced concern about the commission’s need for more information. Charles Paquette asked for certificate of insurance information. Residents have asked for copies of prior blast permit applications. “This commission should not make a decision that isn’t fully informed,” Chinatti said.