On the agenda for tonight at Berlin City Council: Economic Development/Promoting Berlin Discussion.
Councilors will be discussing what the city can do to better promote itself. I hope that is a discussion that continues throughout the city. It isn’t something that should just be happening at city hall; the ramifications continue down Main Street, out Route 110, and throughout Coös County.
Hopefully that discussion will spark more of them, and marketing can become the thing residents rally around.
I was discussing marketing today with someone, trying to get some background on Laidlaw, and they pointed out that, from a marketing perspective, an abandoned stack in the middle of town is probably worse than a biomass facility. Who will come up with the money to tear down that stack if it isn’t used? I’m meeting with Mayor David Bertrand in half an hour to ask that question. Laidlaw has become an issue that divides this city, when it needs more than ever to be united. I’d like to find some answers to those questions, to poke holes in all sides of the debate. I can’t see the city spending money to demolish the stack, so how will it ever get better? A tweeter told me Dover declared their stack historic and stuck cell phone antennas on it. Honestly, its the only idea I’ve heard, so right now it sounds like a good one.
I’m coming into this debate, as I said last night, like the last one to a busted up party. But I still think there is a discussion worth having that does not see eye to eye with either side.
Is Laidlaw good? In the sense that it would provide jobs and do something with that stack, yes. Is the company bad, as some insist? I don’t know. I will be looking into that in the near future.
But what about Berlin? What does it do? A couple weeks ago Councilor Ryan Landry said if Laidlaw doesn’t build there someone else will. Likely true. Will it turn off tourists? Councilor Tim Cayer is working to bring ATVers here with a hunk of junk on the mill site. Are they turning away because of the stack? The ones I spoke to at Jericho didn’t care, but of course they are the ones that came. It is hard to determine what the real ramifications of the city’s decisions will be.
I guess that’s my question: If not a biomass facility, then what? Forget Laidlaw. Who will take down that relic? Who is going to pay for it? What is the better alternative?
The city is getting serious about its image, it seems. What will that image be? Councilor David Poulin had the great idea to get the stacks off the city seal. Who is proposing getting the stacks out of the city? How are they going to do it? Who is going to pay for it? Isn’t Clean Power building stacks instead of erasing them? What is this fascination with the old mill site and where has it gotten the city? It’s like an ex-wife the city can’t get over, can’t seem to escape the memories of.
I intend to find some answers, but I’m interested in your response. Laidlaw is just a symptom. I’ll find out about it, but that still doesn’t deal with the pink elephant in the room. Or is it a gray boiler? Whatever.