UPDATE ON ACTIONS
As part of our collaboration within the Stakeholders Working Group (SWG), we sent the following clarification of some of our organization’s positions to SWG members. In the spirit of transparency, we thought you all would also appreciate reading this, to keep you in the mix regarding our participation on behalf of you and our wildlife.
The SWG comprises the Bureau of Engineering (BOE: Cyril Charles project manager of this Master Plan process), LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP: Deborah Weintraub), our Councilmembers Ryu and O’Farrell’s Deputies and a Design Team led by Hargreaves Associates. The SWG also includes five Silver Lake community groups including ourselves — SL Wildlife Sanctuary, SL Now, SL Reservoirs Conservancy, SL Forward, and SL Neighborhood Council.
This group has met every 6-8 weeks since May 2019 to review and give input for the Silver Lake Master Plan. We sent the below letter in advance of the SWG’s meeting that took place Thursday March 5. Please note that some of the issues below were acknowledged and discussed at that meeting, but with no definitive outcomes except for the perimeter fence issue. The meeting minutes will be added to the Master Plan website sometime soon: https://eng.lacity.org/slrcmp-stakeholders
Text of the email we sent to all SWG members, in response to comments about our areas of concern:
- Education/Café Building and other added structures. SLWS is not anti-education. But we and our supporters did object to how the questionnaires were worded on that topic. For example, people were asked if they wanted nature education. They were not asked, “Do you favor habitat replaced by a classroom building at water’s edge and The Knoll topped by a prominent and permanent shade structure?” Stakeholders and SLWS said yes to the Reservoirs Complex being a site for nature education, not to nature being displaced by new buildings and other structures. In the words of an area schoolteacher, “Nature itself is the ‘classroom.’ ”
Incomplete reporting of community opinions. The reports and graphs only included statistical results from the questionnaires, mostly completed by persons who did not attend the Workshops and therefore were not as fully informed as those who participated in the Workshops. To show a more complete picture of our community, especially the constituents who took the time and trouble to attend, the Community Workshop findings need more than a passing mention in all reports and graphs.
Family representation. It was claimed that families were underrepresented at the Workshops. In fact, we recognized many at the Workshops who are parents. Indeed, this argument was negated by pointing out that so many families and kids from King participated in the Marshall Workshop. And at that workshop there was nearly unanimous support for passive recreation and preserving nature.
Perimeter Fence. While features such as swimming and boating that were rejected by the community are remaining in the MP as options “for future consideration”, the community was not even given a chance to discuss including perimeter fencing in the MP. However, having reached out to the City Councilmembers, we feel our concerns have now been heard through the recent exchanges between Meghen, Christine, Rachel, Jill and Andrea*, and ourselves. Through Christine and Rachel, we received assurance from CD13 and CD4, respectively, that this issue will be seriously discussed with the community and agreement reached before any removal is considered.
Equity. We object to anyone implying that those who don’t share one person’s or group’s vision must be elitists who want our community to become ‘gated’. That’s simply wrong. We want the Reservoirs Complex protected so people from everywhere can enjoy nature and wildlife in a safe and relaxed way, without too many programmed activities and added structures displacing habitat for wildlife or natural views for visitors.
The fact is, SLWS is very concerned about equity, which is why we have opposed all commercial activities, because monetized and programmed features can only be enjoyed by those who can afford to pay, or by those who can participate in the programmed activity, or by those who may profit from it.
We will continue to collegially agree to disagree on certain factors and trust that we all will do our best to avoid misinterpreting the views of any SWG members.
On behalf of our constituents,
Silver Lake Wildlife Sanctuary Board
End of Text Sent
- Meghen Quinn (lead architect, Hargreaves Associates), Christine Peters (CD 13 Deputy), Rachel Fox (CD 4 Deputy), Jill and Andrea (SL Now)
We are continuing to push for further improvements for the conservation of nature and wildlife within this collaborative process.
And thanks to your continuing activism, the plans have in some ways improved for wildlife, with some anti-nature features scaled back.
Your Team at Silver Lake Wildlife Sanctuary