Aaron Mair, the founder of the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center, told the Democratic caucus of Albany Common Council that every option, including legal action, would be utilized by his organization if the council moved forward with a proposal to reroute Patroon Creek into Tivoli Lake.
Tonight, the caucus was considering a resolution authored by Ward 4 Councilwoman Barbara Smith to approve a grant application seeking $1 million in federal stimulus money for the "Patroon Creek Daylighting and Tivoli Restoration Plan." The grant money would be used to "daylight" portions of the creek, essentially unearthing sections flowing through an underground culvert to allow the sunlight to cleanse the polluted water. Also, the plan would aim to ease the heavy flow of the creek that can lead to erosion and threaten sewer lines.
(The Patroon runs to the Hudson River along I-90 from the western edge of Albany. As Dan Van Riper wrote last week, gross orange leachate oozes from the Rapp Road Landfill into this creek.)
All of this remediation of the Patroon is OK with Mair and WHBEEC. What he disapproves of is the plan to run the contaminated water of the Patroon into the pristine, "class A" waters of the Tivoli. Proponents of the project claim that running the Patroon into the Tivoli will aerate the oxygen starved lake. Mair dismisses this supposed benefit for the Tivoli as a "half-baked" notion. He said that he sees this as an attempt to exploit an underappreciated, poorly maintained natural resource in Arbor Hill.
"While it is no major feat to daylight Patroon," a prepared statement from Mair reads, "this project will destroy not 'restore' Tivoli Lake."