I really can't keep my mouth shut any longer. After reading numerous letters to the editor, editorials and news stories all about the West Lake pond and the bond referendum, I find it necessary to speak out.
First of all, I can't believe the county commissioners have got the citizens of this county pointing fingers at each other. What a brilliant strategy; as long as we keep doing that then our fingers won't be pointing at them. They want us all to fight over West Lake being open or private, and they want us looking at how the land got transferred, not at the real issue.
All of the citizens of this county should be pointing their fingers back at the county commissioners and the Engineering Department. The West Lake pond situation is a direct reflection of Columbia County's unwillingness to enforce Best Management Practices on developers. ...
West Lake's situation was created by the county and the developers that they allowed to avoid the rules. No matter if Bowen Pond stayed private or was donated to the county, the real reason the pond is filling in and needs to be cleaned out is failure of Columbia County to enforce sedimentation rules and regulations.
Bowen Pond isn't the only pond or area of water that is being raped by developers. Columbia County continues to assist the developers by not enforcing the rules. ...
When are all of us going to band together and stop pointing fingers at each other (it's your pond, it's your stream) and force the county commissioners to be accountable for the actions or should I say inaction of their Engineering Department. You would think things would have gotten better after Jim Lieper, the former County Engineer, left as he had been labeled the scapegoat or after the Environmental Protection Division stepped in for a review and gave the Engineering Department six months to straighten up. But based on what I see, ... things aren't changing, they are status quo for the citizens and a gold mine for developers.
Instead of the citizens getting upset with each other over the county spending a million dollars to clean out West Lake's pond, why aren't the citizens asking the county why there is no additional money set aside in the bond for the Engineering Department to use for enforcement of Best Management Practices on developers' sites to avoid future problems? Cleaning out West Lake's pond doesn't solve our problems.
Our problem clearly lies in the hands of a pro-developer friendly County Commission and the unwillingness of the Engineering Department to step up enforcement. If we only clean out West Lake's pond without improving enforcement, it is a bad return on a $1,000,000 investment.
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