Solar project opponent challenging ballot candidate for Shutesbury Selectboard

Staff Writer
Published: 6/10/2021 3:47:16 PM

SHUTESBURY — Though only one candidate for a three-year seat on the Selectboard is on the ballot for Saturday’s town election, the town’s tree warden is running a write-in campaign with support from residents opposed to large-scale solar development in Shutesbury’s woodlands.

A three-way race for two seats on the Board of Health is the only other contested race Shutesbury residents will decide at the polls, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Town Hall. Annual Town Meeting will be held outside behind Town Hall starting at 9 a.m.

Eric Stocker, a longtime Finance Committee member and chair who also served on the Selectboard in 2009, is on the ballot to replace Selectboard member J. April Stein, who has served two terms and is not running for re-election.

Stocker, a resident since 1976 and former co-owner and manager of Squash Trucking until his retirement in 2019, acknowledges the commercial solar construction on his campaign website.

“It is essential to proceed with that in a thoughtful, transparent and cautious manner,” he writes.

Other issues for the board include the annual budget and the tax burden for residents, the possibility of a new library building, the need to replace longtime town employees who may be retiring and focusing on how the Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools budget is calculated.

Don Wakoluk, the tree warden, is calling for “inclusive leadership” in running as a write-in candidate for Selectboard. Wakoluk said he wants to see solar panels on roofs, not forests, as Amp Energy of Ontario, Canada, is proposing for 190 acres.

“I am against large clear-cuts, on land zoned as conservation forest, regardless of the purpose of this type of forest management,” Wakoluk wrote in a campaign statement.

Running for two seats on the Board of Health are incumbent Arleen Read, Mary David and Wm Levine.

Other candidates include incumbent Jennifer Malcolm-Brown and Bethany Rose for three-year terms on the School Committee; Nathan Murphy for a three-year position on the Planning Board; incumbent Kate Cell and Timothy Logan for three-year positions as M.N. Spear Memorial Library trustees; Susan Millinger and Dina Stander for three-year positions on the Cemetery Commission; and incumbent Stephen Schmidt and Graeme Sephton for three-year terms on the Municipal Light Plant Committee.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.




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