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Letter: Outer Harbor project should get a full review

Outer Harbor project should get a full review

Not long ago, this newspaper told us the key to our waterfront was subsidizing a big-box retailer to sit on the Canal District, because, well, we just have to build “something.” Luckily, we were saved from desperation-induced delusion, and we have a beautiful and uniquely Buffalo destination at Canalside.

Now, a couple of years later, we are told by this newspaper that Gerald A. Buchheit Jr.’s Outer Harbor project, despite the fact that it conflicts with nearly every stated goal for Buffalo’s waterfront, is necessary for “progress.” So it goes, in a tired Buffalo refrain: we must have this development because we must have development.

But for the last 50 or 60 years, that very same approach – pushing past environmental and community concerns – urging development for development’s sake has scarred and blemished much of the Queen City. In the name of “progress” we ripped apart neighborhoods with six-lane highways, demolished hundreds of historic buildings and made “the best planned city in the world” virtually impossible to traverse without a car. We nearly dropped a fish-themed Walmart on Canalside!

Thankfully, after years of hard work of public servants and community advocates, Buffalo has a plan to reduce sprawl, increase walkability, preserve our resources and create a sustainable future. Buchheit’s project works against all of those goals. And thanks to the Common Council’s decision to greenlight this project without a full environmental review, we have no idea what impact a 23-story tower standing on a floodplain will have on a coastline that taxpayers have spent millions to restore.

Daniel Brady


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