Monday, February 13, 2012

Cambridge (MA) Conservation Commission: Charles River and Fresh Pond

1. Introductory.
2. The Charles River.
3. Fresh Pond.

1. Introductory.

The February 13, 2012 meeting of the Cambridge Conservation Commission had items on its agenda concerning the Charles River, Alewife and Fresh Pond.

I am going to break my report into two parts. First I will do the Charles River and Fresh Pond. Then, in a separate report, I will do Alewife.

The Alewife report will require a lot of work. It deserves its own separate report.

To put it succinctly, the developer has changed. The new developer is a person I have known for a long time and whom I respect. Some of my introductory comments drew a reaction from his team which indicated to me that they may have been had. They may have entered into this project thinking that the comments of the fake groups were true, that the problems at Alewife are the private developers and that Cambridge and its friends are saints. I quickly and succinctly disabused them of yet another lie from Cambridge and its friends.

It is entirely possible that they have been shafted.

2. The Charles River.

The first item on the agenda was the Western Avenue and River Street Bridges project. These are the next two bridges to the west from the BU Bridge.

The biggest problem was that the agenda misidentified the presenters as the Department of Conservation and Development. It turned out to be the Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

The environmental problems with these projects are the ones Cambridge’s friends are trying to add. MassDOT and the DCR have rejected these outrages.

It was a straight forward presentation from good people.

3. Fresh Pond.

The best example of the ongoing Fresh Pond projects are photos of wild birds nesting on nearby office buildings because the animal habitat at Fresh Pond has been destroyed.

The presenters, employees of the City of Cambridge, were showing a plan in which they were chopping up a hillside and rebuilding it.

I asked them how many trees had previously been destroyed in the project area and how many would be destroyed by the project.

The presenters objected to my language. They were not destroying trees they are removing trees.

And they were not destroying animal habitat. They are improving animal habitat.

I refused to use their euphemisms and I, with the maximum nicety possible, condemned the massive habitat destruction in their ongoing series of projects.

I did not get an answer.