2010-07-08 / Letters/Opinion

City Destroyed Local Forested Area

Dear Editor:

While driving along Paerdegat North recently, I was shocked to see the destruction of the forested area from Paerdegat 1st to Paerdegat 3rd Streets along the shore of the basin. Massive piles of uprooted tree stumps and wood chips are all that are left of the hundreds of trees that formed the dense woods which formed a natural border along the western edge of Canarsie.

The total destruction of the beautiful parkland immediately reminded me of the destruction of the beautiful, densely wooded forest in the back of Seaview Park when the Parks Department started to reconstruct our park after the removal of the former compost dump. At that time, in conjunction with the reconstruction of the park, a meeting was conducted by Parks Dept. people with Canarsie activists, including members of South Canarsie Civic Association and members of Community Board 18.

At this meeting we were told that all of the trees in the park would be preserved, and the back area would be restored as “woodlands.” When the construction started, hundreds of trees were bulldozed, cut up and chipped into mulch, and the Parks Dept. ignored our requests for information concerning the construction. A Freedom of Information law request substantiated our claim that hundreds of trees were removed and a “lump sum” of $20,000 was paid to a contractor for “removals,” and $87,840 was spent on “tree removal, chipping and spreading.” This documented that the Parks Department blatantly lied to us about the tree removals, as well as the extensive use of herbicide. Today, at a time when both NYC and the State are broke, how can they justify the expenditure of huge sums to destroy our woodlands?

One question that must be asked is: Why does the Parks Department hate the naturalized areas of Canarsie and the rest of the Southern coastline of Brooklyn? In Marine Park the naturalized areas to the south of Avenue U that were supposed to remain “forever wild” recently had all the vegetation— including extensive growth of swamp weeds—totally obliterated with herbicide. There is nothing left in this so-called “natural preserve” but dry exposed soil. The same thing just happened to the natural area along Fresh Creek at East 108th Street. Now the so-called environmentalists are killing all of our trees and destroying established forest lands.

Sincerely yours,

Steven Kaye

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