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Letter: Keep the public engaged in Outer Harbor planning

Keep the public engaged in Outer Harbor planning

“New Outer Harbor plan to be aired after input” was a very welcome development to the diverse public constituencies that have been following and participating in the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. planning process this last year.

The inclusion of Terminals A and B at the south end of the site is welcomed and changes the dynamics by including a commitment to start with the development of those existing facilities. ECHDC’s comment, “we’re listening to their [environmental community] concerns,” is greatly appreciated and the Western New York Environmental Alliance looks forward to the next steps.

ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia also sings the praises of the recently opened Canalside and we agree. It’s hard to believe that there was a time in the not-too-distant past when this community was very close to leaving the actual canal covered in asphalt and nearly dropped a giant big-box store where the ice rink now resides.

In fact, if not for the tenacity, insight and leadership of community members who pushed a higher vision of what we could achieve together, we would have a very different outcome. It was the collective wisdom of our citizens that demanded the best and most respectful use of this prime urban waterfront that is responsible for the great asset we have today.

We hope the robust public engagement model that resuscitated Canalside can now be applied to the Outer Harbor process, because it will pay dividends well into the future and ensure that it truly becomes everybody’s waterfront.

Lynda Schneekloth

Advocacy Chairwoman

WNY Environmental Alliance