Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
41 1st Street, Brooklyn NY 11231, Mary Star of the Sea, Community Room
Bayside has entered into a bulkhead repair order. Harrison Fuel has entered into an “ability to pay” settlement. Natalie will be presenting on “Gowanus Canal: A Study In Community Involvement” at an upcoming conference, where CAG member Joseph Alexiou will also present.
In terms of the EPA decision regarding the location of the storm water retention tanks, the timeline remains general: late summer/early fall is the current projected timeframe for a decision.
National Grid also encourages the public to visit the website www.gowanussuperfund.com [note: the CAG makes no representation as to the accuracy of information contained on the linked website] which has up-to-date information regarding design work in the canal.
Water Quality/Technical Committee
No meeting in August, will resume in September.
The committee would like to draw attention to a notice about the New York State Brownfield Information Public Hearing regarding the rewriting of state Brownfield law. This is particularly relevant to the community as Gowanus is home to many current and proposed Brownfield sites, and the law determines the required standard for remediation and mitigation. Under current law, sites must be remediated, usually using concrete capping, and the state assumes liability for danger and harm that may happen. Developers usually get tax credits on the property. There is increasing precedent to address the comfort of the community, and this may be a strong motivation to encourage CAG members to support community dialogue as part of the Brownfield laws.
The committee is currently working to secure someone from the Landmarks Preservation Committee to attend a future committee meeting, and will inform the CAG when this is confirmed.
The committee held a lightly attended meeting to discuss the formation of the communications plan. The committee needs more input, but currently the use of Google groups, Twitter and Facebook, and the strengthening of systems for internal and external communication, are the focus of the committee’s efforts. Hoping to present a draft in the coming months.
Point of information from Natalie Loney, EPA Region 2 Community Involvement Coordinator: It is important to decide what and how we wish to communicate. There needs to be information validation to ensure that information provided to community members is accurate, and there needs to be a process of vetting from the CAG.
In particular, the Committee wishes to focus more effort in outreach with the local NYCHA community, employing door-knocking and connecting with tenants’ association leadership to get critical information in the hands of building residents. A method of “each one teach one” would help ensure that leaders in the community help disseminate information to NYCHA tenants, and has been a successful method of outreach with these populations before.
Much remains to be streamlined with regard to CAG communication. While information about what is being done and how it is being done could be miscommunicated, the CAG can and should be posting the resolutions it passes on the web for easy access to the advocacy work that the group does. This is not consistently done and is a priority for some members.
It is possible that TASC funding could be used to help create fliers and other outreach materials that could then be distributed throughout the community. Some member organizations, such as the Caroll Gardens Association and the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation, may also be able to help with printing.
The Facilitation Team will develop an alternative meeting date for the September 22 CAG meeting.
Comments on Draft Notes From last meeting: Offered, and incorporated in final notes.
September 22nd Meeting is Yom Kippur: Facilitation Team will come up with an alternative date.
Question: A CAG member raised the issue of the statistics and data presented by the NYC DEP during its presentation regarding its recommendations for the location of stormwater retention tanks. It seemed as if the figures on the slideshow were being used to prove a point/push a certain scenario. Should the CAG consider making a strong statement regarding the validity of the proposal from the DEP?
Answer: The validity of the plan is being evaluated by the EPA and will be done so with a thorough eye for detail.
SUMMARY OF MOTIONS
No motions were introduced at the meeting.
Maryann Young (Alternate for Rita Miller)
Geroge Denesis (AKRF)
Michael Higgins (FUREE)
M. Karwowski (FROGG)
Andrew Prophete (National Grid)
Pat Van Rossen (National Grid)
Terri Thomson (National Grid)