We must keep industry away from waterfront

Our few golden seasons of public enjoyment of the waterfront might soon be over. Industry is moving back in. Sure, activities that produce strong economic multipliers and pay living wages are great. But why do they have to locate on the waterfront? Don’t we have plenty of vacant land around here?

Is it because it is easier and cheaper to just dump industrial waste into a nearby lake or river and let nature cope with it? One hundred years of doing just that ruined the Buffalo River and the Lake Erie waterfront the last time the area was industrial. Now, just when the birds and fish are returning to the area, when space is available to redevelop in a new, cleaner direction, and when state money has been secured to renew/replace the sewer system and clean up the contaminated soil and water from the last time, here we go again.

Americans are really good at innovation, and famous for taking risks. But we are an impatient people. A buck in the hand today is worth more to us than clean water and soil and a viable waterfront in the future. We could really use some leaders who think long term and on behalf of us all.

Susan M. Davis