Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Meeting went OK -

Quick update, then I am off to bed, I'm absolutely zonked. What a week, what a week.

The meeting was OK - in fact I think about as well as anyone thought it would. The Advisory Council was rather amazed by the size of the turnout, which was GREAT -- they'd set up in the lobby instead of their usual conference room & it would've been pretty mortifying if nobody showed up. As it was, we pretty much filled the chairs that they'd set out, and when one of the council members asked for the folks who store boats at Pier 63 to raise their hands, there was a gratifying show of hands.

There were no solutions tonight, but then of course we'd all gone to this with the understanding that there wouldn't be. However, at least the Advisory Council and the Trust now all understand that as things stand, more paddlers stand to be displaced than can possibly be accomodated even if the new boathouse at Pier 66 were simply turned over to us (which would of course isn't going to happen as it would be flat-out illegal - the park boathouses are built with public funds & must therefore be assigned through a fair & open selection process beginning with a Request For Proposals), a whole lot of us would still be left with nowhere to keep our kayaks.

That's now been made clear & a dialogue opened, which is a definite improvement given the fact that earlier this week this was all being presented as a set-in-stone ultimatum.

Lots more good points got aired, too tired to go into detail now, but the end result was that 3 main items were agreed on as recommendations of the Advisory Council to the Trust -

1. A working group should be formed to continue investigating ways to smooth the transition. I don't know if I'll be asked to join that or not but if I am, I probably will. If not, you can bet I'll be pestering for updates on a regular basis.

2. Ways for the displaced paddlers to be absorbed in the interim should be looked into (more than they had, which was not at all.

3. (and this is the good one that made me happy to hear the chair say it) - The Trust should investigate whether the DEC permit can be amended in light of the fact that the current wording directly results in at least 40 current regular water users losing their access.

Like I said, there's more details, and at the moment I am writing this, the situation is still that we need to get our boats out of the barge by the 10th - but the overall outlook doesn't feel as totally bleak as it did yesterday.

BTW I should've mentioned that as far as my personal outlook - I'm fine, there's this really great guy up in CT (yup, same one that rode the Cyclone with me!) who instantly offered my boats a place to stay for a little while when he heard the news on Monday. My hero. Seriously, I don't need rescuing very often but in this case, it's a huge relief to just know there's somewhere I can take them in a pinch.

That would make those after-work paddles a little tricky, but at least it gets them out & buys me a little more time to weigh the other options & see if anything is likely to develop from the seeds that were planted at tonight's meeting.

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