Update on Listening Session to Piping the Ashland Canal

Monday, June 17 at a city council “listening session” a dozen folks spoke to the issue of piping the Ashland Canal. Two spoke in favor of piping and the rest spoke against it. The stop the piping group presented their alternative to piping with four minutes each and no questions or dialogue.

The goals of the city are to stop the leaking in the canal and to lower the Ecoli contamination. The citizens’ alternative does both without tearing up the environment and felling 300-400 trees, thus leaving the canal as pristine as it is now. The contractor/owner of Robinson Concrete Pumping said that he could finish the lining easily during the down time of the canal from October-March. It comes with a 100 year guarantee and very low maintenance costs. He can reline the canal for $850,000.

The city wants to pipe these two miles of the canal at a cost of $4,000,000. This requires tearing up all shrubs, trees, and vegetation for at least a twenty foot swath of land around the canal. The pipe needs to be buried which will require heavy equipment along these two miles. The piping will also accomplish the efficiency of no leaks and lowering Ecoli contamination.

After the presentation by citizens, the public works director informed the council and citizens that basically the citizens’ alternative doesn’t work. No details were given for this judgment. She also let the audience and council know that everything is in place to break ground for the piping in late September. She also emphasized that the project can’t be delayed and a decision is needed on July 16, the next city council business meeting.

Those who attended this “listening session” felt that there was not much listening on the part of staff. There was no opportunity to dialogue in order to give more detail and explanation to the citizens’ alternative or to learn what was unacceptable about this new alternative.

A beautiful summer water way will soon be destroyed to be replaced by an access road!

Watch the Chronicle for actions that will be taken to let the council know there are hundreds of citizens against the piping of the canal.