By Gina Martinez
Activists and elected officials have planned a “Day of Outrage” Saturday in an attempt to stop a pipe project in MacNeil Park in College Point. Expected to speak at the event are state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Coastal Preservation Network President Dr. James Cervino and Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).
The non-profit network organized the rally to protest the city Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to install a stormwater outfall pipe in MacNeil Park’s wetlands, oyster reef and kayak launch site, which is the town’s only free waterfront access. According to CPN, the pipe would dump polluted street runoff in this cove.
“The city’s plan would bring polluted street runoff into our sea grasses and oyster reefs,” CPN said in a release. “The DEP claims it’s ‘only rain water’ but obviously, the rain also washes asphalt debris, road salt, de-icing chemicals, sediment, oil from vehicles, cooling oil from restaurants, cigarette butts and the gamut onto our coast. It should not be placed here. The site is already inundated with pollution, Installing this large pipe and concrete support structure would mean digging up and destroying years’ worth of successful environmental rehabilitation.”
CPN is also demanding answers as to why the crumbling waterfront path reconstruction work has not begun yet. According to the network, the project is years behind schedule and they were last told construction was supposed to begin in “late summer or early fall.” CPN said a contract has still not been awarded, although a low bidder was identified in January.
On Sunday CPN has also planned a beach cleanup at MacNeil Park from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart