Proposed Upweller Facility in Chatham Receives Criticism from Town Board

CHATHAM – During a recent meeting, Chatham’s Board of Selectmen voiced concerns over a proposed upweller facility to be built next to the Mitchell River Drawbridge, at a cost of $4 million.

The facility would include a one-story upweller for the town’s shellfish propagation program, public access in the form of a wrap-around deck, and a system of piers and floats for small boats.

While understanding the benefits of the facility, the price-tag is throwing some selectmen for a loop.

“I would assume that an expanded state of the art upweller would provide real return in terms of seeding, literally seeding our future of shellfishing in Chatham which I whole-heartedly support, but I really am concerned over an ask of $4 million,” said Selectman Jeffery Dykens.

The plan was comprised by the town’s three water-related advisory committees.

They stress the figure is preliminary, and that portions of the project could be phased in throughout a five or 10 year period.

With Eldridge trap dock, Ryder’s Cove and the fish pier all needing improvements, selectmen have urged the committees to draft a scaled-back version of the plan for future consideration.

“As a selectperson today, I’m reluctant to raise my hand and totally endorse this recommended option until I know what we’re going to spend on the fish pier, and what we’re going to spend on Ryder’s Cove because I think we’re jumping the gun here,” Dykens said.

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