I have to say that I am not in favor of the DeMoulas project. I shook my head when I read in the Times that they call this project "the gateway to Gloucester."
People, do you really think the most appropriate "gateway" to this lovely city is a supermarket? Good grief! Have we lost all sense of what is right and good?
After reading all of the statements from our local officials, I see that it is pretty clear: This project is a done deal. It is a sad truth that the powers that be are, again, making a decision that I believe the city of Gloucester will regret in the future.
If we are giving in to the DeMoulas Corp., allowing them to build a Market Basket on our wetland (at the very least a watershed for Thompson Mountain runoff) and creating a virtual traffic nightmare on Atlantic Street, I think their offer to extend the city sewer system is not nearly enough.
Why not ask them to also add to a "superfund" for citywide road repair and maintenance? Aren't we all sick and tired of the potholes? They will be making millions from shoppers coming from Gloucester and every other city north of Danvers. Their offer shrinks when compared to the money they will make opening this market.
If the city is going to let developer Sam Park build the retail space near the Fuller School, why are we not asking that he fund programs needed in our schools or contribute to a "superfund" to be used for the public school system as it is needed?
We are missing out on an opportunity to boost city revenues for educational needs. I am not suggesting that we sell off our jewel of a city; I am saying in situations where we are faced with a project that may have a potentially negative impact on the city and we cannot prevent it from happening, we must expect something in return.
We live one half of the year in California. All of the above is expected of developers.
Out here, if a developer wants to build a tract of houses, he/she must provide a new school, a park, sidewalks, street lights and greenbelt areas as part of the development.
No one questions this. It is assumed, and it happens.
In our city in California, Lowe's wanted to build a big box store. They automatically began offering to contribute to the city.
Their contribution was $1 million for the purchase of public art for the privilege of building here. The money is there and it should be part of the package.
If you think that we will lose the interest of developers by requesting that they contribute in some way to the city, you are wrong. Right behind the developer who refuses to comply with our request is another developer with his/her hand in his/her wallet.
Gloucester is a peach ready to harvest. We need to allow change to happen in a thoughtful, intelligent manner and we must reap whatever benefits that we can from the developer who has been given the privilege of doing business in our city.
In the case of the LNG terminal proposed by Suez Energy North America, I don't think any amount of money is enough to cover the potential and existing negative impact of this facility.
Lois Smith Lundell's letter of Feb. 3 to the Times stated many valid reasons why this project should not be permitted and alternative ways for us to receive the fuel we need, via overland pipeline from Canada that was brought to our attention by Sen. Bruce Tarr in May 2005.
Once the LNG facility is built, there is no going back.
If we accepted the payoff, Gloucester will have to deal with future potential safety and environmental disasters with no support from Suez Energy North America.
The money offered by this company to both the city and the fishermen is huge and tempting, but at what cost?
The best scenario in this situation is that somehow Gov. Deval Patrick can undo the mess that was created by Gov. Mitt Romney on his way out and find a way to have the state deny the two permits needed for this terminal to be built and bring this proposal to a screeching halt.
Money doesn't soften the blow in every negotiation.
Rebecca Aliberte is a native of Gloucester and part-time resident living in California in her off time.