Letter: Vote ‘NO’ to the demolition of the monastery

Posted 5/20/22

To the editor:

I would like to publicly voice my thoughts on the future of the Carmelite Monastery, located at 25 Watson Avenue. I hope many of you will join me in voting ‘NO’ to the …

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Letter: Vote ‘NO’ to the demolition of the monastery

Posted

To the editor:

I would like to publicly voice my thoughts on the future of the Carmelite Monastery, located at 25 Watson Avenue. I hope many of you will join me in voting ‘NO’ to the demolition of the monastery at the upcoming Financial Town Meeting on May 25th.

Those of us who are passionate about the future of the monastery have spent the better part of the last year attending town council meetings and listening to presentations by consultants. There are members of the town council who would be thrilled to level the monastery and build a massive apartment complex or jam as many tiny houses on the parcel of land as can possibly fit. Units = money. I am saddened and disappointed by the lack of consideration being given to the preservation and conservation of the land. This 7-acre parcel boasts tremendous green space and is home to countess flora and fauna. With much of this town being over-developed, this is one site where the majority of the property is dedicated to the open space with views of the bay. The monastery was built during a time when every brick, pipe and drop of cement was laden with asbestos. It wasn’t until years later that the horrible health and environmental implications of asbestos came to light. Undisturbed, asbestos isn’t a harm to humans, animals or the environment. However, when disturbed, asbestos is released into the air and soil, no matter how thorough the abatement process may claim to be. Neither the town council, nor the consultants have provided answers or facts when asked about the short- and long-term health and environmental implications of the asbestos. I know I am not the only parent who has lost sleep worrying about the health of the young children in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Do you walk, jog or bike by the monastery? Do you spend time on Barrington Beach? Do you stroll the winding paths at Tillinghast? Do you golf at RICC? If you answered yes to any of these questions than the decision of what to do with the monastery impacts you too. I have major concerns with the town council’s agenda to level the monastery and for this reason I will be voting NO at the upcoming Financial Town Meeting when asked if I support the demolition of the monastery.

What I do support is the preservation and beautification of the building. I support open space for all Barrington residents to enjoy. I support converting the building into age-restricted affordable housing to keep our aging population in town. I support asbestos free air, land and ocean. I vote NO to the demolition of the monastery and I hope you consider joining me. 

Respectfully,

Vanessa Sheehan

Barrington

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