2008-12-12 / Columnists

It's My Turn

Joan Bass, also known as Joan Mettler, is a longtime community activist who has been involved with the question of cleaning up the toxic dump in Rockaway.

What do you build on a toxic waste site where, when this 14-month remediation of the site concludes, not 100 percent of the surface is cleaned and only eight out of 136 feet of depth of toxicity is remediated?

If all toxic land facing Beach Channel Drive between Beach 108 Street and the LIPA substation going south at least 100 feet is declared clean by the Department of Environmental Conservation, even though there is still 128 feet in depth of contamination on the site, what exactly should be built there?

Having spoken to Tom Campbell, National Grid project director, who spilled the beans to me in May, I will keep you in suspense no longer. National Greed intends to sell the remediated site to a developer who, at minimum, will build a strip mall on the land facing the bay. After the 14- month remediation phase, the pristine land will be sold and developed into something for which the community hungers, on still contaminated land, adjacent to an electromagnetic field across the street from a sewage treatment plant. Wouldn't it be befitting our sacrifice with respect to the clean up if we were allowed to select not only the type of stores suitable to the site, but also the names of these stores?

The following are suggestions of stores on our Coming Soon Mall that will be submitted to the yet-to-benamed developers who, out of their allegiance to the community, should take these suggestions to heart - and to lung, liver and brain: • Brownfield and Stream Bait and

Tackle (convenience is our hook) • Erin Brocovic & Associates Attorneys

at Law (negligence is our specialty)

• Toxic Taco (you haven't tasted spicy

until you've tasted toxic) • Bay Catch Seafood (outdoor dining

in season) • The D.E.P. Watering Hole (pick your

poison) • West Wind Perfumery (location,

location, location) • Deep Breath Respiration Therapy

(take one and hold it) • Bay Cleaners (we'll clean anything

or anyone, twice if we have to) 8 Noxious News Stand (grab your

paper and hightail it out of here) • Son of Sunset (the return of Rockaway's

bay-view diner) • Remediation Tutors (an after-school

safe haven for your child) • Out of the Closet (previously worn,

soiled clothing at affordable prices) • Peninsula Smoke Shop (what have

you got to lose) • Last Licks (ice cream and lollipops,

not what you think) • Rockaway Comedy Store (you'll die

laughing) • Washaway Rockaway Laundromat

(laundering everything, but money) • Hair Today… (using water from our

own on-site underground wells) • Belle Harbor Boots and Waders

(sales and rentals, book here for onsite tours) • Audrey Pheffer State Assembly

Office (drop by, ample parking in


How fair would it be if I were to project my taste from my wish list on my neighbors?

No worries, neighbors.

There will be at least 24 stores in our new strip mall. And who is to say my suggestions become reality? I'd be a dirty so-and-so if I didn't open the naming and type of stores to you, my neighbors, and, most endearing of all, neighbors to our very own toxic waste site.

So, cozy up to your computer and do as I have done.

Make a wish list. Be certain the Coming Soon Mall has a theme and that your chosen stores follow.

Should you choose to submit entries to add to mine or create a strip mall of your very own, designate as such and send away.

Fax or e-mail your suggestions to The Wave for consideration for a future edition of the newspaper.

You may even wish to develop a wish list for the east side of the site from Broad Channel Dr to the Rockaway Freeway with an unobstructed view of the sewage treatment plant.

Let your creativity flow and, by all means, sleep soundly, my neighbors, knowing we allowed National Greed to poison the very air we breathe with only the slightest whimper of protest.

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