Again, issues relating to the development of property known as Burke Creek at South Lake Tahoe are coming before the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board. This controversy continues as the developer has made some concessions to earlier concerns by paring down the scope of the development.
However, there are serious issues with this project which have to do with the water clarity of the creek and Lake and the historic significance of this environmentally sensitive piece of land.
During the September 1999 TRPA Board meeting, Charles Goldman, Ph.D., the world renown expert on Lake Tahoe's water quality, gave testimony which stated that any development of undeveloped lands around the Lake would affect water clarity on the Lake. It is vitally important that TRPA take this expert's testimony most seriously in order to act as stewards of the lake for the preservation of the environment around the Lake as is their mission. As a community, we can no longer allow political or personal interests of groups of people to have priority over what is good and essential for the environment we inhabit.
Any compromise may be conciliatory for the people involved in the Burke Creek debate, but any compromise which involves building on this parcel of land will be destructive and devastating to this pristine environment, to the water quality of the creek which flows into the lake and to the water quality of the Lake. We can no longer afford to compromise when it comes to the environment we inhabit.
A second issue has to do with one of the TRPA Board member's vested interests in getting this particular property developed. Don Miner, Douglas County commissioner, has stated his impartiality regarding this issue. However, his pronouncements to the press, to members of Friends of Burke Creek, and his associating with the developer, Mr. Borelli, and his attorney, Mr. Hoffman, at TRPA Board meetings proclaim otherwise. In order that TRPA continue to deserve the public trust and to carry out their mission with impartiality, it seems essential that Mr. Miner recuse himself on this issue or that that board ask him to step away from further input regarding Burke Creek.
If we, the public and concerned citizens, truly care about Lake Tahoe and the preservation of its beauty, it is time for us to come forward to find alternative ways to conserve such pristine and environmentally sensitive lands. It is a challenge for all of us to find monies or other resources to find new ways to care for our environments. It is time for us to question whether we will support the reparation of such pristine land, or will we, by our apathy and indecisiveness, allow further destruction of such land through development and lack of sensitivity as to what is best for the earth.
My question to all of us - "How can we help?"