Monday, March 1, 2010

Letter to the Durango Herald ~ Develop Wolf Creek?

February 26, 2010

{Thank you for the image of Alberta Park}
~ ~ ~

Dear Durango Herald Editor,
Wednesday February 17 Congressman Salazar held an informative VWC panel discussion with representatives from government, business, environmental groups including Mr. McCombs and Mr. Jones the developer.

Mr. McCombs the ever optimistic salesman spoke of a first class luxury resort and all the jobs it would bring the local economy.

There seemed a general consensus to develop Alberta Park. Why, because we’re desperate for any financial growth.

Congressman Salazar favors expediting this project by following the Environmental Impact Study process and the Legislative land exchange bill simultaneously. Thus eliminating as many delays as possible.

But, that doesn't seem right: shouldn’t the NEPA-EIS inform McCombs landswap bill?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I've been contacted by Congressman Salazar's office. They take issue with the above characterization, and point me to Matt Hilder, February 18, 2010, PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN article. From that article:

"The congressman wants the study, which would take the form of an environmental impact statement and take at least 18 months for the Forest Service to complete, before deciding whether to sponsor legislation for land exchange."

I happily stand corrected, but point out, at the Alamosa meeting nothing that definite was stated, and, Mr. McCombs' was pushing for that fast track. That issue was touched on from various directions, but it seemed to be left a dangling loose end.
I did attempted getting clarification, but didn’t receive a reply until today (4-24-10)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Disturbingly Congressman Salazar’s presentation was totally lacking any healthy skepticism toward the project. He’s treating this as just another parcel with no difficulties or traps.

But, this parcel is at 10,000’, higher than any other US overnight resort. Where our lungs absorb a third less oxygen than they do at sea level. This alone creates a whole raft of potential medical, marketing, ethical, perhaps even legal liability questions since medical experts advise against lowlanders spending nights at that extreme altitude.

For similar reasons this project will demand a well engineered, probably very expensive sewer treatment facility. With any brake downs, spills causing grievous damage to the source waters of the Rio Grande River. There are many other unique infrastructure challenges, that only honest commitment and lots of money can conquer. But, such extraordinary expenses cut into profits.

Than the business plan. Who are the buyers? Given today’s constricting financial situation will there even be a market for these luxury homes? What if too few buy? These are fair questions that Congressman Salazar should begin asking.

Mr McCombs is a smart businessman and claims to know what he’s doing. He is successful and sitting on a profitable automobile sales empire. But that doesn’t make him infallible. A little internet time produced 23 luxury resorts recently gone bust, some abandoning half built hulks. Big dreams can come to naught. It gets worse, Google: “Updated: On The Brink: 15 Real Estate Firms Going, Going...”

Please no speculative, destructive Village at Wolf Creek white elephant.

Sincerely, pm

No comments:

Post a Comment