FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2013
CONTACT: Rebecca Glenn, OLÉ
(505) 720-8918 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor's New Website Ignores Public Comments on Plan for Bosque
Community Calls For Conservation and Education
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Bosque Action Team (B.A.T.), a coalition of organizations and individuals, is calling Mayor Richard Berry's updated website for the Rio Grande Vision flawed and an attempt to whitewash opposition.
“Mayor Berry has not taken into consideration the environmental, social, cultural, and historic impact the Bosque has on the city and the state,” said Victoria Regina, a member of OLÉ and Sierra Club. “The Rio Grande Vision calls for construction in the Bosque that would hurt the habitat of birds, fish and other wildlife. It is important to remember that the Bosque is a wildland, surrounded by our city. This means we have to take care to preserve the Bosque, not encroach on it further.”
The latest website for the project, different from the one established for the Vision, includes the info-graphics that were also shared at a community meeting held on September 4, but does not mention any of the comments received from the community. The meeting was attended by over 400 people, the majority of whom voiced opposition to the Mayor’s plan. The new website also fails to mention that since May, neighborhood associations have voted on resolutions rejecting the plan. The B.A.T. says creating a new website means people just looking into the Rio Grande Vision will not see how the Plan has evolved over the past year and the original intent, which was very development focused.
Alex Limkin, an Iraq veteran and supporter of keeping the Bosque natural, has expressed great disappointment in how the City has handled the public outcry. "Every time the public has been given the chance to provide input on Rio Grande Vision, it has been overwhelmingly anti-development, pro-education, pro-conservation, pro-restoration, pro-outreach. In response, the City has canceled additional public meetings, and is just plodding forward as though no opposition exists. This is railroading, pure and simple. Putting out a new website that completely ignores the public outcry that has been building for over a year, with thousands of petitions and letters gathered, including hundreds of vocal protesters at a September 4 Town Hall Meeting, is a slap in the face,” Limkin said.
The B.A.T. also believes that there are other critical Parks & Recreation priorities that should take precedent over creating a new project. “The recent audit of parks maintenance under Parks and Recreation, which will oversee this new project, was abysmal, calling for an increase in spending to simply address the noted deficiencies,” said Albuquerque resident Elaine Hebard. “Add that on to the $18 million backlog of infrastructure needs at the BioPark, and we question whether the City can responsibly shoulder yet another obligation.”
The Bosque Action Team, whose member organizations include the Aldo Leopold Society, Amigos Bravos, Hawks Aloft, OLÉ and the Sierra Club, along with hundreds of individuals, has been advocating for conservation, preservation, and education, with only very limited, conservation-minded development within the levees, using community outreach, input and participation in the process and abiding by relevant planning guidelines. "Rather than ignoring the public, the City should design any future projects with the community," said Hebard.