Friday, June 24, 2016

Nothing Is Ever Easy . . . or So It Seems

Back in December 2014, Columbia County was awarded a $131,250 grant "to design a recreational and natural trail within walking distance of downtown Hudson on lands that include the former Hudson Landfill." Now, it seems, that project is ready to begin. It was a topic of discussion at the last meeting of the Board of Supervisors' Public Works Committee on Wednesday. John Mason reports on that meeting in today's Register-Star: "Study to look at trail over capped landfill.


  1. I didn't attend the meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Public Works Committee, but there's an internal consistency in the quotations which drives The Register-Star story.

    Some Supervisors, evidently, have something else in mind which is quite different from the Columbia Land Conservancy's (CLC) Concept Master Plan for North Bay. The quotations capture these same individuals' baseless assumptions repeated throughout, giving a sense of their unpreparedness, disappointment, and even defiance when faced with the DEC's candid answers.

    As is so often the case in politics, these individuals' resistance to two walking trails over the landfill was couched in the language of fiscal concern, but a closer look shows the opposite as the case. When coupled with the County's 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), any new insistence that the facts must be other than what the DEC has suggested is an example of government hypocrisy, foolishness, and waste.

    The CLC developed the North Bay plan in consultation with the County and the City, a plan the County acknowledged is both an outgrowth of the City's Comprehensive Plan and in agreement with the adopted LWRP.

    That's an impressive list of government exertions, but what does the 2013 MOU actually say?

    1. "The County supports the Concept Master Plan and hereby acknowledges that implementation of the [Plan] will not affect the County's long term Landfill monitoring and maintenance obligations ..."

    Why would the County first acknowledge that the plan "will not affect" long term maintenance obligations, but then contradict this previous understanding to the point of second-guessing the DEC?

    Fortunately, the solution to any Supervisor's newfound fiscal and environmental conscience is also found in the MOU:

    2. "[The] Memorandum of Understanding [is] in support of the preliminary design work to implement Phase I of the North Bay Plan.";/content/Meetings/View/112:field=documents;/content/Documents/File/1479.pdf

    And what does Phase I entail? The Concept Master Plan reveals its Phase I as the only way forward to answer the newfound concerns of these second-guessing Supervisors:

    "Phase I would include ... landfill condition assessments and engineering feasibility studies. .... Phase I design and construction would consist of ... development of the marsh perimeter trail, including the boardwalk, and the two trail connections to the Greenport Conservation Area."

    Once you appreciate all the government work to date on this issue, which has been slow, careful, and conservative, any Supervisor suddenly feigning belated fiscal concerns is being hypocritical. They're not acting responsibly at all, but wastefully.

    As captured in the above title, building things can be very hard work. On the other hand, the destruction of all this toil is easily accomplished by those who'd merely pose as being responsible agents.

    Thanks are due to the Supervisors who stuck to the original plan.

  2. Great idea, a million dollars for a second ward hangout.

  3. It would be interesting to know how long each of the County Supervisors has been in office.

    For instance, were the same individuals involved in 2013, when the Board of Supervisors agreed to the Memorandum of Understanding?

    It took years of lobbying to get the guardrail installed at North 2nd Street, in order to prevent ATVs a thruway from the high school. There were even cars being driven over the engineered cap, and the damage was obvious to all.

    Suddenly the great concern of these Supervisors is that people will walk on the cap, and that the foot traffic might be damaging. We couldn't get the County to act when cars were up there, but only a few years later, hikers are seen as a threat.

    I'm not buying it, and I mean to find out if these same Supervisors were present throughout all of the above. Can people really be that phony?