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Outer harbor should not simply benefit developers

Thanks to Jay Burney for putting into words the fears and feelings of so many Western New York residents. His Aug. 17 Viewpoints piece sums up the misleading information touted by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. in its recent community meetings. Politicians and development institutions are not to be trusted with a resource as valuable as the outer harbor.

Housing and commercial development have no place in an area that should be preserved for the benefit of the local population rather than those developers who can influence our elected officials to further enhance their bottom lines. I wonder how those attending the meetings would have reacted to the proposal of the 21st Century Park if it had been offered as an alternative.

One only has to look at the many major decisions regarding development in Western New York made over the last 50 odd years to know that the majority have resulted in benefits for developers and construction companies and long-term regret for the area as a whole.

There is no stopping the political and industrial machine that continues to generate profit for a few and long-term burden and debt for residents, local governments and nation. The outer harbor needs to be guarded against commercial development and careless expenditure of taxpayer dollars, such as an elaborate “fishing pier” that terminates in six feet of water at a cost of over $2 million.

Development should be centered on recreational activities that can benefit from the fact that this is waterfront property, not shovel-ready acreage ready to be exploited for profit.

Michael Celej

Buffalo