A sorry affair



January 04, 2001

The detonation before Christmas of some 500 pounds of explosives near the intersection of Fleming and Gay Sts. has left a lot of lingering questions for both city officials and the developers and their contractors to answer.

Why was advance notice not given? Why were police not notified? Why were explosives transported into the city without prior notice? And why is it so easy to obtain permits for blasting?

We'd also like to know whether geologists were consulted about the detonation and whether the blast might eventually destabilize the underlying rock formations.

None of that information was available when technicians began knocking on doors on Dec. 19 to advise residents to leave because they were going to set off the explosion.

Resident Sharon Brill-Downs managed to call all the right people and get a delay. The delay at least allowed time for police to seal off the area properly before the explosives were touched off.

Still, with only minimal paperwork in place, the contractor planned to proceed on Dec. 19.

That is simply not satisfactory.

The fact the explosion was touched off without incident does not justify the lack of preparation, community notification, or the fact that explosive charges were put into place without residents even being aware of it.

The whole affair leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It was a shameful exercise in attempting to thwart public scrutiny.

We invite Councilman Michael Nutter to hold public hearings in an effort to get some answers to these questions and provide residents with an explanation, then to put in place regulations that will prevent a repeat of the sorry affair.

The Review 2001