2003-12-12 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks Stones

by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum
Sprayview Sticks Stones by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

Congregation Derech Emunah where the waste pile was dumped in 1993.Congregation Derech Emunah where the waste pile was dumped in 1993.

It’s High Noon at Dubos Point, and as usual, "Bernie Dubos" is watching.

At Beach 65 Street – Bayfield and DeCosta Avenues – the planners have surrounded Dubos Point Park with sardine can style houses. There is no more open space for Jimmy the Squirrel to seek shelter and food. It reminds me of the attitude in the 19 Century when buffalo were almost hunted to extinction. Or the problems we face in Rockaway with the depletion of the piping plover’s habitat.

Locally there has been some resistance to habitat protection for the piping plover. Sandpiper flocks seek shelter and food at the Arverne/Edgemere lonely beach section. But the city/state/ federal coordinated program carries on all the same. So will Dubos Point stay the "forever wild mosquito enriched habitat" or do the planners surrounding it have other plans?

Who pays the freight for "mosquito enrichment" must be paying to "freight out" Rockaway’s precious topsoil so much of which has disappeared from Sanitation Bulldozing – coordinated locally at Community Board 14.

District Manager Jonathan Gaska (a city employee) refuses to answer a number of inquiries about this deceptive land clearing under the guises of mosquito-weed, lot cleaning and rat control.

But it has been free land clearing for developers at public expense with the bonus of a "topsoil freight."

I once followed a truck from the Sanitation Department sifting station of Beach 63 and Larkin Avenue (thankfully Congressman Charles Schumer shifted the facility to Brooklyn.) It went directly into the landfill facility in Edgemere and unloaded a brown freight in a section that could not be observed by the 49 Street entrance road. One more sifting would have produced a higher product grade. When asked about what was going on, workers in the office referred to Sergeant Pizzo – head of Sanitation, District 14. A written inquiry was never responded to just as Sanitation Commissioner Doherty has failed to respond on specific information. On another occasion a companion followed and myself a truck to College Point where asphalt was being manufactured.

So Rockaway terra (not so) firma has really been freighted and the squirrels never stand a chance against the topsoil vampires at Dubos Point. But who has been giving the orders?

Back in 1992, a waste product of demolition was being freighted around Rockaway and dumped illegally. Some was dumped near Congregation Derech Emunah and much more was dumped between Beach 43-44 Street off Norton Drive in Edgemere.

In spite of the reports of some trucks stopped, the massive illegal dump by the waste cartel surely saved tipping fees charged for landfill disposal! Who pocketed the money?

In some places the Sanitation Department lot cleaning crews cleaned up this waste product so public funds absorbed the tipping fee expense of the waste cartel.

After six years of requests, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation did surface tests in Edgemere of this tan product (that killed plants) and provided results.

Only the US Environmental Protection Agency provided information that while not hazardous, the crud would not be used for residential development in New Jersey as they have higher standards there.

Poor blacks run around on this dusty stuff and animals have to contend with the crud.

By the way, I first met James Sanders Jr. at the big illegal dump when he was working in Congressman Flake’s office. I distinctly noticed a power company worker using a map that marked the area "contaminated." But the map couldn’t be obtained on request.

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