Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Gowanus Canal CAG/Community Advisory Group

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, the CAG for short, held its first meeting last night. The group, which currently consists of fifty six (56) members representing various community groups, local businesses and residents were gathered together by our chosen Facilitator, Jeff Edelstein.

At the meeting, in addition to almost all of the listed members (Member List) plus Alfonse from Monadnock Construction, Triada Samaras, 2nd St resident and CORD co-founder, and Buddy Scotto representing Carroll Gardens Association, were many members of the community, local press and many of our elected officials, and/or their representatives and a few members of other government agencies.

The EPA was there. The now familiar faces of Walter Mugdan, Natalie Loney, Brian Carr and others were on hand for presentations and a question and answer segment. As always, they made the information easy to listen to and digest. Ms Loney reminded us that EPA information is always available on the site, including a link to a facebook page which she has set up at

It is important to note here that the Q&A segment was open to ALL ATTENDEES. CAG members may have been given first dibs but no one was denied the ability to ask a question or speak up with comments at the appropriate times.

Walter Mugdan explained that a first draft of the Remedial Investigation, thanks to the Herculean efforts of the site manager assigned exclusively to us by the EPA, the wonderful, Christos Tsiamos, would be ready (and in record time!) for perusal by the end of this year. (see PMFA)

The CAG members were broken up into smaller groups and encouraged to talk about their/their groups' concerns, their ideas of how the CAG could work productively. They were also asked to think about which (of a proposed group of) sub committees they would like to participate in as well as being asked for suggestions for other committees to be formed as well. Basic ground rules as well as how information will be disseminated were discussed...more on that will follow as we move along.

The discussion was lively. The atmosphere full of hope, excitement and of course, our own very special brand of "community". It seems logical to assume that discussions will become much more focused once that remedial investigation draft and whatever other data that is being compiled right now is presented to us.

As we have said to you before, this CAG is for the entire community---it is not an exclusive club for a few people or special interests groups. It is imperative that as many people as possible in the community participate. The meetings will continue to be open to the public. We understand that not everyone can attend all of the meetings. Perhaps it is difficult for you to attend ANY of the meetings. We at CORD, are committed to bringing the information, events, data and discussions to you. For now, we will do this through our blog and our newsletter. We are relying on you contacting us through our email address ( to keep the lines of communication open.

Although you are receiving this and therefore already on our newsletter contact list, you can feel confident that you (or anyone else who might be interested) will be able to go back and review any of these newsletter posts on our blog which is located at: Just keep scrolling down or search for the date until you find the post you wish to see.

If you know of others who would like to receive our newsletter and become part of our contact list, please have them forward their email address to us at: That is the only way that we can assure that they will be added.

We, in turn, would like you to email us with YOUR questions, YOUR concerns, the things YOU would like to have addressed at these meetings. When it is time to make decisions, we will want YOUR opinion. These comments, etc is what CORD will bring back to the CAG meetings.

SUPERFUND is here. These CAG meetings are not to discuss the benefits or drawbacks of superfund. Although the decision to superfund or not may have been somewhat contentious, that is over now and we are paused to begin on the next part of the journey.
This is a really exciting and historical time. We all have the opportunity to participate in something much greater than ourselves. Let's make the most of it!

We would also like to note here that a CB6 meeting which was held on Monday night at PS58 brought to the community a presentation by NYC's DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) outlining the plans to improve the Gowanus Canal flushing tunnel and pumping station and the current state of the canal as a result of the lack of flushing/pumping facility.
For more information on this, please see PMFA post linked here.



With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........