Frank Matarrese is a former vice mayor of the City of Alameda.
Council Must Act Now
The City Council must act on De-Pave and Northwest Territories Parks with a sense of urgency. Acting on both follows policy set in the city’s recently approved Climate Action Plan and the worsening climate crisis demand launching work on these parks now.
Unfortunately, the city’s track record is not good as it’s been more than a year since negotiations with East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) started on turning the 147 acres in the north west corner of Alameda Point into a regional park. The same goes for “De-Pave Park”.
Removing the concrete pads and naturalizing the western side of the Seaplane Lagoon has been talked about for years without progress on any actual work. It’s a shame, because adding “De-Pave Park” to a Northwest Territories Regional Park could provide miles of natural buffer to inevitable sea level rise and acres of carbon-sequestering habitat, both urgently needed to help address climate change. These parks would provide spectacular open space to off-set planned development, too.
It’s also clear that both projects meet city policies for addressing climate change as outlined in the recently approved Alameda Climate Action and Resiliency Plan.
It’s all well and good to talk about the idea of these parks again, but time for this kind of talk is done. Council direction for “De-Pave Park” has to include deadlines for the plan to come back for a vote and must, if Alameda is truly serious about addressing climate change, carrying a priority of “Urgent and Important.”
In parallel, the same sense of urgency with a Council established deadline is needed in directing the City Manager to come back with an agreement with EBRPD for the Northwest Territories ready for a vote.
Every year that goes by without action contributes to climate change and raises the price tag of doing what is needed. Delay also means missed opportunities gained by getting EBRPD signed on, with its power to plan, fund and operate regional parks.
Failure to act and start work on these parks relegates Council referrals and promises in Alameda Point plans to “feel good plans”; getting applause the night of the vote, being good for campaign literature, but contributing nothing to Alameda’s future. For our future, the Council must give the direction to act now and start work on De-Pave and Northwest Territories Parks.