How many Ashlanders would support waking up one day to find that our city had decided to put a new road through their property. Before you answer let me assure you that yes, it’s possible. Just ask the 87 Ashland property owners along the Ashland TID Canal. Such is the crazy saga around Ashland Public Works’ push to pipe 2 miles of the Ashland TID Canal. To mitigate initial concerns over the piping, Ashland Public Works told impacted land owners early on at on-site meetings that once the project began, not much along the TID Canal would change. They failed however to outline some critical details: The unique aesthetic of the TID canal would be completely changed; 300 otherwise healthy trees would need to be destroyed; driveways, waterlines, electric and sewer lines would be halted and moved impacting many families lives; property values would be negatively impacted; plant and wildlife would disappear and, oh yes, the present pathway on the TID would be replaced, not by a new path but, after a 20 foot swath of ground was reclaimed, with a NEW road.
It unfortunate that only after many of the people who walk the TID Canal every day and property owners impacted by this disruptive project started asking questions themselves, that the real details started seeping out. It’s understandable that some facts were unknown yet considering what is at stake it would have been much more useful for the community to have been presented with all possible assumptions prior to the Public Works meeting at SOU on January 31st 2019. That way impacted stakeholders could have attended to voice their views. Our city council must look at a better alternative to the chaos, environmental impact and cost of tearing up two miles of the TID Canal. We already know that the E-coli problem won’t be fixed by piping the TID water as most of the E-coli is already in the water before it reaches our city. As for the water loss, Council should require that Public Works repair the 23% of the canal said to be in “poor” condition and then actively maintain the Canal. This is the most cost efficient approach, costing far less than the $4 to $5 million now projected for the project. TAP is our emergency water source already in place to provide Ashland with water during summer months so lets use it when we must. Any alternatives other than “fixing and maintaining the TID Canal” outlined by Ashland Public Works just don’t make sense.
* The photo top right was shown by Public Works as the new path but they now say what will appear is a new road, below right
For more details and information why people want to “Keep The Canal” visit the website at http://ashlandtrails.com/keep-the-canal/
Tracie Stubbs, Ashland