Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Partrick Issue has become a Political Movement

In the face of derision from both real estate development executives and some local politicians, the Partrick Wetlands Preservation coalition has been transforming what at first may have appeared to be a NIMBY issue into a true political movement. The extensive proposed development on Partrick Road by ARS is leading to an aggressive mobilization of citizens who see that this development is not just about the impact on their back yards, or on a highly sensitive water table perched above lands polluted by decades of abuse, or even about exploiting every developable inch of a forlorn and forgotten wetlands that deserved better by far. All of these are important in their own right, but in the end it is the lack of proper concern for the rights and interests of citizens to control their own community that seems to be moving to the forefront in this debate. Big real estate interests have had our town government in a veritable trance for several years, pushing their own interests up to - and beyond - the limits of the public good time and time again, even when they have been confronted with virulent and vocal public opposition.

Development will continue - Westport is not getting any larger - and that's unavoidable to some degree. But the exact degree should be very much under the control of the people who have the most to gain or lose by that development - the citizens who must live with it long after the developers have collected their due and the politicians have walked away to other duties. Right now, if zoning laws are stretched and ARS does what it wants, we're stuck with a big real estate company coming away with a bundle, and the people of Westport holding the risks associated with the potential impact that the development will have on how life is lived in hundreds of homes that may be harmed by this extreme use of delicate lands. But of course, if problems with the water table do arise, the international water corporation Aquarion will be more than glad to hook those people up to their pipeline - for a price. And what do you know, there's a shiny new water line being thrust up Wilton Road even as you read this. Funny how that works, isn't it.

Is this development as planned necessary? Absolutely not. Is it inevitable? Only if citizens decide that they want to continue to be pawns in a power play that has overtaken their lives far more than they may care to admit. On the evening of May 22nd there is a good opportunity for citizens to voice their own concerns and to hear the legitimate concerns of their fellow citizens in this matter. Please come to the Planning & Zoning hearing on that evening, and be part of deciding how your community is to be shaped - by special interests, or by you. The choice is yours.

Thank you for your attention.

John Blossom