Monday, March 1, 2010

* Congressman Salazar, Question the VWC proposal

Saturday, February 17, 2010

Open letter to
Congressman Salazar’s VWC Discussion Panel on future approaches to the proposed development of the Alberta Park area.
Adam State College, Alamosa, Colorado ~ 2-17-10
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{Thank you for the image of Alberta Park}
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Honorable Congressman Salazar and panel members,
I respectfully submit the following list of issues & questions deserving to be addressed.
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It must be noted this parcel of land was originally set aside, within the protective fold of the Rio Grande National Forest, for the benefit of all Americans by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1911.

Then, on February 20, 1986, in a back room of the US Department of Agriculture, a Washington DC insider countermanded the Rio Grande National Forest’s land exchange process which had rejected Mr. McCombs’ lopsided land swap proposal.

> In essence this parcel was victim to an illegitimate hostile take over. . .

The People do have the right to hope for its return to the American land trust.

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Beyond that, there’s the actual biological productivity of that land to consider.
Alberta Park is a “keystone parcel” within an integral carpet of land that is the Wolf Creek watershed, source waters to the interstate, international Rio Grande River.

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Wildlife corridors and living space for a large variety of animals.
The pristine fens area is biologically productive on a grand scale.
The area is a massive water filter, purifier and reservoir.
Simply leaving it as it stands has multiple economic benefits.

> These aspects get downplayed > yet deserve to reign center stage.

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Plow a development into the middle of it and that sweet water will turn into reused gray water and the wildlife sanctuary, fens, watershed will suffer cascading losses.
> Given current global trends, clean water resources are among our most precious commodities... isn’t protecting this unique resource an imperative concern ?

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Why complicate local life with the legal Water Rights court battles that will ensue any actual diversion of massive amounts of water shares into that speculative village?

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Question the project’s realism:

Considering current financial world realities - where will the people come from for this luxury get-away at 10,000'? Or put another way...
How does one justify such 1990s developer dreams in the face of the obviously leaner, meaner 2010s we are heading into?

Wishing the good old days back doesn’t justify gambling away this world class pristine irreplaceable watershed resource for a questionable,
nay, doomed pipedream.

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The public health challenge:

In particular the health risks associated with lowlanders sleeping at 10,000’ elevation.

Who will deal with the Altitude Sickness of varying degrees that will become chronic health incidents for residents at that altitude?

Will prospective buyers be forewarned of the health risk?
How many actual buyers would, in the end, opt for healthier accommodations at lower elevations?

After all, at 10,000’ our lungs absorb a third less oxygen than near sea level.

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Who will be responsible for developing and financing an Emergence Medical System and medical clinic?
Will the VWC medical clinic include a High Altitude Health Research Station, considering the pioneering 10,000’ elevation of these overnight accommodations?

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Then, there’s Police protection to consider, plan, finance, develop.
Who will be responsible for that?

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Then, there’s Fire protection to consider, plan, finance, develop.
Who will be responsible for that?

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Then, there’s snow clearing and street maintenance to consider, plan, finance, develop. (see Larry Calloway's article "VWC, Salesmanship Trumps Meteorology" )

Who will be responsible for that?

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How much thought has gone into developing the sewage treatment plant for this high altitude environment that experiences freezing temperatures eight months of the year?
(Plus intense solar radiation... plus microbial efficiency is temperature & O2 dependent.) VWC will present unique water treatment engineering challenges and include inevitable breakdowns and high operating costs.

Who’s paying for it?

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The list goes on, electrical distribution, LP gas, phones, IT . . .
Who will be financially responsible for ensuring all this necessary infrastructure?

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The Business Plan:

A business venture is about high return on an investment.
To think the above can be accomplished within the budget of a speculative VWC for profit real estate venture seems fantastical.

The VWC is impossible without massive outside support... and that will turn out to be governmental support... tax payer support.
But, our governments are already stretched to bursting with obligations, why are we considering creating yet more?

And for what? A destructive white elephant in the making.

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Honorable Congressman Salazar,
American’s have a right, if not duty, to attempt wrestling McCombs’ Albert Park speculative development parcel (although I would call it a priceless biological gem), back into the protective fold of the Rio Grande National Forest, America’s land trust.

Congressman Salazar will you do your part?

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Mr. McCombs & family, Why not return it?

“The B.J. Red McCombs Sweet Water Biological Preserve”
~ ~ dedicated to all down stream children yet to be born ~ ~


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