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The Northeast Metro Tech Building Committee Seeks to Silence, Vilify Citizens

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  The Northeast Metro Tech Building Committee (BC) is trying to divert attention away from the problems with its project by attempting to discredit and silence those who oppose the location of the new vocational school in Wakefield.

  We are not a small group – nearly 6000 people have signed our petition and agree with us. We are teachers, carpenters, scientists, project managers, retirees and parents – your neighbors from all 12 communities that send students to the NEMT vocational school. And, we voted to fund the new vocational school.

  Our stance is this: instead of spending over $40 million on weeks of blasting and ripping the forest out, build on one of the other available sites so that that $40 million can be spent on and benefit the students.

  FACT: Our information comes directly from the BC website and from recorded meetings such as the Conservation Commission. We have studied 1000s of pages of BC reports on wetlands, storm water, construction, design and more.

  FACT: If the project process had been transparent about the location and truly engaged the public in that decision, we wouldn’t be here today. If this had been a transparent process, everyone would have known about the hilltop site, the accessibility issues, the threat to the wetlands, the weeks of blasting, the potential flooding of neighborhoods, and the added cost of building on the hilltop.

  Virtually no one who voted to fund the new Voke knew any of this. The public was never involved in the site selection process, and none of the details of the hilltop site were on the ballot. Several area Commissions on Disabilities were shocked to learn about the worrisome safety and accessibility issues inherent in the hilltop site when this was brought to their attention by concerned citizens. They had no prior knowledge of these details.

  FACT: Regarding public input, BC documents including their own Facebook page, show that ‘Community forums’ began only AFTER the building site was selected. When the public became aware of all the problems, it was only then that public participation began in earnest. No project abutters or neighbors are on the NEMT Building Committee. Who was there to ask the tough questions when the building site was being chosen?

  FACT: The BC chose the hilltop from among three possible building sites – all the same size. They picked the most expensive, most environmentally destructive, least accessible, least safe site. The hilltop site was rejected in the prefeasibility study as too costly and problematic. Yet, for some inexplicable reason the BC chose it anyway.

  FACT: What happens to the state funding grant is not up to any of us; that is up to the MA School Building Authority. The MSBA has allowed other schools to change the location.

  It may be hard for the NEMT BC to accept that so many citizens, professionals and established organizations in all 12 sending communities adamantly disagree with the BC’s decision to destroy a forest needlessly when we can have a new school, keep the forest, and save money in the process. The BC’s own documents show us that safety and protecting the environment are not compatible with building on the hilltop.

  Vilifying the messenger with fabricated accusations that everyone can see through, is an act of desperation. Don’t fall for it. Our opposition is focused solely on the choice of location, not the new school itself. Check out our website (https://www.nemtforest.org/) and Facebook page (Save the Forest and Build the Voke), and you will see that this is the case.

  We stand by our efforts to Save the Forest and Build the Voke. Join us!

  On behalf of the 6,000 petition supporters,

Bob Brooks

Janet Cohen

Bronwyn Della-Volpe

Doug Heath

Karen Johnson

Alison Simcox

Sasha Simone

Brian Thomson

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