Gowanus? Love Canal? NO! It's the Clap Canal!

The result of the vote on the resolution for the Toll Brothers spot zoning approval that occurred last night at the Community Board 6 meeting was basically a wash as there was no majority rule, it will have to be brung again before the board next month. More people were for the resolution to disapprove the spot zoning than against it. The board members for the resolution had legitimate reason to question this project. Environmental cleanup being number one. Many local residents spoke passionately and with concern about the project, no one I might add, was against something happening along the canal- it’s just that this particular project is not the right one. There are certain board members that have the twisted philosophy that in order to clean the canal you must build first. The ONLY folks in community who spoke on their side were union construction workers who basically used the guilt card that this project means jobs. Well, I have nothing against jobs but I would think that they wouldn’t want to be working on a job where they may be endangering their lives putting their hands in toxic soil. Does anybody recall the after effects of working down at the former world trade center? Hello! Cancer?! There is most likely asbestos and worse in the soil down on the shores of the Gowanus! They did have a representative to answer environmental cleanup questions but he was a tad casual and actually admitted that he “didn’t know much about that project” when someone brought up the languishing Whole Foods site. He stressed that there are broken ceramics in the soil more than heavy metals and other carcinegeous materials. And don’t get me started on their sewage solution. They are going to take care of their own shit. That board member also said that in order for the city to repair the strained sewage system on Bond Street, you must build first. (I want some of her drugs, or maybe the ones the woman who said the “canal has the clap”! and "let's get some "nice" people down there"!)

And again I have to say the most apparent thing about this meeting is that there were no REAL "pro" voices from the community other than members of the Gowanus Canal Development Corporation who for whatever reason have a huge hard on for this project, unknown health issues be damned! And oh yeah, Councilman Bill De Blasio made a brief appearance saying he is for affordable housing but if it’s not cleaned properly he’s not for it. Then he left and didn’t bother to listen to the community speak.

To read a much more detailed coverage of this three hour circus, click here to read the Pardon Me For Asking Blog’s coverage.


Anonymous said...

Roy Sloane had it right. It is the government's responsibility to clean up the canal. If we leave it to individual private developers there will never be accountability nor will there be a permanent and complete solution. Does Bill De Blasio want the blood of the children and elderly cancer victims on his hands when housing is built down there? Or will he be off to his next job? Community Board, LISTEN TO THE COMMUNITY for god sakes. Deny these zoning changes until a true solution to the sewer overflow, the heavy metals in the soil and the leeching into and out of the canal is fixed. Toll Brothers and the unions will get what they want, let's get what we need first....a solution to the toxicity of this canal.

Anonymous said...

The computer modeling that Toll has used to justify a net benefit towards a cleaner canal, despite their additional 950 or so toilets, is as reliable as the models used by all those banking/wall street firms to justify and hide their debts. Common sense is as applicable here as it is in Wall Street. We can’t allow these corporations to continue to hide behind their obscuring models any longer. Let’s not forget that the Gowanus CSO models are bases upon rain data from the year 1988—37 inches of annual rainfall.

The canal is in such a pathetic state because of all the raw sewage spills it takes. Adding a substantial amount of additional raw sewage into the existing combined sewer system cannot possibly “cleanup” this problem, regardless of how well they plan to manage the rainwater that falls on their site (which incidentally, sits downhill from the public street storm drains).

But what is most appalling is that this project is being consideration separate from all the other projects in the works; projects that also hope to dump their toilets into the same sewer line. Public Place site may get upwards of 1400 new toilets, the Bayside site could have 1000 new toilets, and who knows how many more could go between those sites.

Even if every one of these new toilets was a stand-alone composting toilet, that wouldn’t solve the current problems of raw sewage flow from the existing structures.

So when it comes to the vote: just how could anyone acting as a public servant, on any level here, grant approval to this project without seeing a study of the cumulative infrastructure impact that will come to the area following this spot-zoning process?