Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mohawk River Magic: The Fecal Follies Continue

You might think that the human feces floating in the Mohawk River would be a major roadblock to developing it's tourist potential, but you would be wrong. The same folks responsible for dumping billions of gallons of raw sewage into the mighty Mohawk are now planning to spend an undisclosed amount of money selling it as a "Greenway":

Residents tonight can suggest options for developing and marketing a 35-mile stretch along the Mohawk River and Erie Canal in Oneida County.

Officials are creating a Comprehensive Greenway Plan for the Mohawk River Corridor, which would be from Utica to Sylvan Beach.

“We’re going for a unified plan, so everybody starts thinking bigger than their own particular projects,” said Jessica Breiten, chief planner of the Oneida County Planning Department.

If they're looking for suggestions I've got one that should really help- STOP DUMPING MEGATONS OF FECES INTO THE RIVER.

I'm simply aghast that this tourism proposal is even being considered by Oneida County. Keep in mind, these are the same government officials that have postponed fixing the sewage overflow problem from the Sauquoit Creek station for at least another five years. That means the County, and New Hartford in particular, will continue to let billions of gallons of raw sewage spurt from the inadequate pipelines in the commercial district while at the same time they try and convince people that the Mohawk River is a valuable natural resource.

Just click on the "Fecal Follies" label over there on the left to get an idea of just how inane and hypocritical this Greenway proposal is. I'm absolutely stunned at the sheer chutzpah of these people.

Update: A kind emailer points out that this could turn into a PR disaster of epic proportions. That's something we simply can't afford, since the Utica metro area already suffers from a dismal image around the globe. Don't believe me? Go to Google News and do a search for "utica shotgun stroller" and you'll find roughly two hundred stories from around the world about the Stephanie Wilson case- and those are just the outlets that reprinted the story on the internet. Pardon my bluntness, but you can just imagine the reaction when it comes out we were marketing a river filled with our own shit as a tourist destination.

Update: A commenter on the Observer-Dispatch story used part of my rant against this goofy idea, but his comment has since been removed.

Update: A very helpful source claims that Oneida County officials are well aware of the extensive sewage problem, but plan to ignore it. Allegedly, there are more than a few folks that view the Greenway plan as a gravy train that will be running for years.

Oh, and RoAnne Destito is a big supporter. Please notice that this claim is in a totally seperate paragraph from the claim that some officials view the Greenway plan as a gravy train, because I'd hate people to think I was suggesting anything. Because we all know that RoAnne would never try to personally profit from her elected office, and to imply otherwise would be legally actionable.

Update: A helpful emailer points out that the Oneida County Planning Department's own writeup of the initial Greenway proposal meeting includes multiple comments on the River's sewage and pollution issues, including this gem:

One car-top boat (canoe/kayak) access point is better than none but several would make it more accessible to those with less physical ability. Most important is the safety of having proximity to each other. Also of great importance is the pollution (sewage) in the water. This is to be a greenway, not a brownway.

You can browse the PDF for yourself over here.