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Southwest residents get update on Spreader

By Staff | Feb 9, 2011

The Southwest Neighborhood Association has taken no official position on the Northwest Spreader Ecosystem Management Agreement, but used its meeting Wednesday night to share information with their members about the situation.
President Joe Cervoni said it was important to make sure the association members had a clear picture, especially financially, of what was happening.
“When it has to do with their money being spent, it’s important to know what’s happening, one way or the other,” Cervoni said.
He said he believed most members were informed on the issue, if not all the “ins and outs” of the proposal to re-install a barrier in the so-called “Spreader Canal.”
The original barrier, a boatlift, was removed due to breaches around the structure. The city opposes reinstallation but still has applied for a permit with the state as has been required.
While he hasn’t taken an official vote or pulse of the association’s members, Cervoni said he believes he already knows how most feel.
“I think if you were to ask most members, I would think they would be against it,” he added.
Presentations from Oliver Clarke, the city’s project engineer, and David Scott, one of the stakeholders of the NSEMA process, were made available.
Although the NSEMA process essentially ended where it began — with the participating agencies and organizations unable to agree on whether re-installation of the barrier or a water quality improvement plan would provide a better “Net-Ecosystem Benefit” –Scott said the NEB process is still a crucial and vital method to ensure a healthy ecosystem for years to come.
“We have to approach this like triage, taking the most important projects first,” Scott said.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said the NSEMA process simply had too many diverse groups as stakeholders to ever come to a logical conclusion, while Councilmember Pete Brandt said it was important to change the misconception that septic sewer systems from the Cape are ruining the water quality.
“Right now there is no problem up there,” Brandt said. “The septic systems are not causing the problem. Might they in the future? Sure, but they are not right now.”
Mike and Fran Kumbier bought a house along the Northwest Spreader about six months ago, and while they felt informed, they thought it was important to come to the meeting to hear more information first hand.
The Kumbiers believe the city is doing a good job communicating the issues, and presentations like the one made by Scott and Clarke are filled with the type of raw data that makes them feel that the water in the spreader, and the whole ecosystem, is perfectly clean.
Having fished around the world, the Kumbiers said they would know if the water is polluted.
They don’t support replacing the barrier.
“As far as we’re concerned … we’ve fished everywhere, and the water up there is perfectly clean,” Mike said.