Letters to the Editor
HUNTER LAKE COSTS
You need to know that CWLP’s resident and non-resident wholesale water customers are faced with more than $300 million in potential rate hikes, over and above current charges for normal operation and maintenance of the water system. If CWLP gets federal and state permits and the Springfield City Council votes to build Hunter Lake, you water customers will have to pay at least $100 million for principal and interest on long-term bonds.
Whether Hunter Lake is built or not, Lake Springfield must be dredged to maintain the value of lakeshore properties and the resulting tax revenue. The consultant studying dredging and other alternatives to Hunter Lake estimates that dredging to recover Lake Springfield’s 20 percent lost storage capacity will cost over $100 million. Phosphorus-laden sediments in the shallow bays can support toxic algae blooms that can be fatal to pets, fish and wildlife. One such bloom caused the shutdown of the Toledo, Ohio, water treatment plant a few years ago.
Even after Lake Springfield is dredged, it will cost water customers and/or farmers on the watershed over $100 million more to reduce the flow of sediment and fertilizers into the lake and maintain water storage capacity. That’s according to the most recent Lake Springfield watershed study.
Springfield resident customers need to tell their aldermen and the mayor that we do not need an expensive second lake on a more drought-vulnerable watershed to manage through a temporary water shortage.
Coalition of Concerned Citizens
Catching the flu has delayed my response on Bruce Rushton’s lackluster report on Springfield/Sangamon County’s land use plan (“The best laid plans,” Jan. 11). The lack of contemporary thought throughout was surprising. The use of such words as activists, land development with little note of urban sprawl, east side and downtown neglect presents an image of an antiquated, out-of-touch news staff and local government.
As we set the standards low on planning, Springfield will expand its littered, run-down and abandoned businesses appearance as we spread out to the west, eyes carelessly closed at what we are leaving behind.
Neglecting our inner core, the east side and disturbing and paving over our natural resources merely creates more problems in the long run and demonstrates uninformed short-term thinking.
Land disturbance, drought, carbon absorption/emission reduction, storm water runoff and flooding are all vital issues for everyone. In the next article, I would encourage Illinois Times and our government to demonstrate an informed and concerned approach that goes beyond mere “land development.” We need a cooler climate, soil and forest protections that prevent drought and flooding, and, most of all, we need a government willing to become informed and responsible on these issues.
We need to expect more from ourselves. Implement a bag/disposables tax. Plastic bags and disposables are not free by any means with the carbon emissions to make them and the litter they create; they are not worth the damage they inflict long term. Increase protections on existing tree growth, and implement incentives to maintain larger percentages on tree canopy and vegetation.
I hope the next article I see in Illinois Times on our urban planning process will include the words storm water runoff, carbon sink, tree canopy and urban sprawl.