Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire executive director Tim Geller said he expects environmental remediation to begin late this month and construction on the apartments to commence in late October.
The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire can finally proceed with its plan to build an affordable housing complex at 100 Bridge Street after receiving the go-ahead from the selectboard.
The language that is always being used is that the CDC is ghettoizing our poor, or low- and moderate-income families … We think that description is absurd, given where the site is … and the fact that … 50 percent of the families in Great Barrington qualify for these units.”
— Tim Geller, executive director of the CDC
In a letter to Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire, MassDEP wrote that, while the plan to remove all contaminated soil from both the Housatonic riverfront and from the area for an affordable housing development is “protective of human health and the environment,” the relocation of that soil to other parts of the site may be harmful.
In his letter to the editor, Tim Geller writes: “This zoning approval of the affordable housing at 100 Bridge is an important step forward in addressing our unconscionable lack of housing affordable for our friends and families who live and work here.”
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Catherine Skiba would not comment on whether MassDEP has allowed this sort of partial capping in the past, or for a housing development.
In her letter to the editor, Nan Wile of Great Barrington writes: “I believe that we absolutely must persevere to create housing, and make it happen soon. At the same time we must preserve the small family neighborhoods of our village.”
According to the Federal Register, EPA scientists have stated that toxic landfill liners are no guarantee and that landfill pollutants can “migrate into the broader environment. Eventually liners will either degrade, tear, or crack and will allow liquids to migrate out of the unit.” GE wants three more PCB landfills in the Berkshires. But the EPA insists on out-of-state disposal in an approved PCB facility. The matter will likely be settled in court.
While the Community Development Corporation is “committed to the bioremediation process,” it will do whatever it has to move ahead with the the construction of the 100 Bridge Street complex. That may mean “capping” –– or covering –– the polluted soil to eliminate exposure.
The plan, now known as 100 Bridge, will — if all goes according to plan — feature an expanded Berkshire Cooperative Market as an anchor business in what will be an eco-commercial retail, housing and green public space complex.
Bioremediation at the Log Homes site costs only a fraction of the traditional dredge-it-up and haul-it-away method of toxic waste management. Preliminary results should be available by the end of September.