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No Peace Beside the Peace Bridge

An ongoing series of “private” meetings among Peace Bridge area residents and elected and unelected officials may be causing the residents to feel that at long last the powers that be have become interested in hearing their story about the ill effects on their health and their community related to Peace Bridge diesel traffic and the planned enlargement of the bridge plaza.

Meanwhile, the proposed demolition of homes along Busti Avenue for the plaza expansion seems to be proceeding full steam ahead. The houses to be demolished—including the landmarked 1860s-era Wilkinson mansion—have been fenced off with chain-link fence, and last week residents on contiguous properties to the proposed demolition properties got notices from the Public Bridge Authority about having their sewer lines dye-tested to check for connections to sewer lines on the demolition properties. True to form, the PBA did not reveal just when it plans to start actual demolition.

The most recent of the “private” meetings last week included Mayor Byron Brown; and wearing two hats, Sam Hoyt, chairman of the PBA and local liaison for Governor Andrew Cuomo; Dr. Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa, epidemiologist and author of a series of scientific papers documenting high numbers of asthma cases in the Peace Bridge environs related to bridge diesel traffic; and a handful of residents. Not much seems to have been accomplished, other than the obvious temporizing.

Following the meeting, Lwebuga-Mukasa wrote a letter to the mayor recapitulating a number of issues touched on in the meeting, but above all conveying his continued dismay at officials’ continued ignoring of his studies and the documented health problems among the area residents. (To read the full text of this letter, visit AV Daily.) No public official seems to know—or really, want to know—about the health crisis.

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