On July 8, Cumberland will hold a hearing on more building and paving, which will affect our climate. Cumberland has expanded its footprint for many years and now has an abundance of meeting space, including a seldom-used room at Prince Memorial Library, new space in its expanded firehouse and a seldom-used meeting hall in West Cumberland.

Recently, a $9 million performing arts center was built for the Cumberland-North Yarmouth school administrative district. (There was no serious discussion as to how performance venues in Falmouth, Yarmouth or Westbrook could have been shared by the municipalities to reduce carbon footprint growth.)

Cumberland wants to expand again. Its town manager argues that municipal meetings often have overflow crowds. Overflows that occur twice a year are not a reason to add space and waste more energy. Added pavement is also proposed for these once-a-year events.

Traditionally, when large meetings are expected, officials have made the environmentally economical decision to move to an existing larger community venue.

Regarding the expansion for food pantry and police to make our police more comfortable, we should find ways to be more environmentally comfortable. Employee and police space should be cubed up, like private companies do. Low-crime Cumberland should instead consider staff reductions in its police department and review mileage and fuel use.

Lastly, the least North Yarmouth should do is help by sharing and consolidating its new vehicle wash facility for school buses. Forcing Cumberland to duplicate such a facility expands the footprint. Paving and building construction store more summer sun and replace environmentally friendly vegetation. If civic leaders are serious about climate change, they should shrink their footprints, not expand them.

Timothy Michalak


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