The more I think about the proposed development at Mandahl Bay the more I see what a disaster and awful mistake this will be if approved. So many people have said so much against this development that's worth listening to. We've heard and read the facts about the negative impact on the endangered species and other wildlife in the area. We've heard about the impact on the mangroves and that we have no guarantee that the ones the developer promises to replant will thrive. We've seen that the community has no need for nor does it want the marina, restaurant, retail shops, and grocery store. We already have marinas that are empty, stores that are closing down and retailers that are just barely hanging on for dear life.
Over the weekend I stood at the water's edge and visualized all that the developer intended to do in and around the pond and bay, on the people's land, for his purposes. I don't get it. How do we take what we and our children use on a daily basis, something so valuable to us and give it away to the developer to do with what he wants? I just don't get it. Those who attended the CZM hearing on March 5th heard testimony from young people throughout the island who use the area as their "playground" and "classroom". We saw pictures of them camping and kayaking at Mandahl Bay; learning about their environment and how to protect it. There are families from various parts of the island who use the pond and bay every weekend. How can we take this away from them and give it to the developer? Do we value him and his dreams more than ourselves and our dreams? Is he more deserving of this land than we are?
When we have destroyed what is left of the bay and pond what do we get in return? At Thursday's meeting the developer mentioned certain "benefits" of this project – the possibility of jobs and the fact that this will be open to the community etc. His response was rather weak and unconvincing. Haven't we heard this before? Haven't we had many promises made to us in the past and they have remained unfulfilled? Will we continue to have the wool pulled over our eyes and repeat the same mistakes of the past? When I think of the proposed development I think that there is too much to risk losing with no guarantee of gaining anything worthwhile for the island.
There is a lot at stake here. Once this is done we cannot go back and undo it. The CZM has an awesome task and duty to make a decision that will be in the best interest of the community at large and in keeping with their mission to preserve, protect and enhance. The people have spoken. We have expressed our desire not to have this development and have given overwhelmingly strong reasons why not.
President Barack Obama did what many thought would never happen in their lifetime he became president of the United States. He beat the odds. He went up against the giants and won. Times have changed – nationally and locally. Now is our time. CZM members, the pen is in your hand. Make us proud.
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