Lucas: What do Berlaimont and RiverPark have in common?
The answer: Death by a thousand cuts.
Those two developments have been planned over the objections of the majority of local residents. And they are each one of the thousand cuts that destroy our environment and climate.
Both proposals, Berlaimont and Edwards RiverPark, are perfect examples of the ancient Chinese torture of lingchi — slow slicing of the skin until death occurs — which was practiced in mid- and late- imperial China from the 10nth century until it was abolished in 1905. I equate this torture to the way much precious open country and sacred native lands has been carved up by developers in the name of improvement. It is improvement for the sake of profit, which designates that a business is a success.
Let me tell you a story: The man said, “the developers always win.” The man was the most recent in a long line of those who have uttered the same words, but this one is right here in Eagle County. He was replying to my comment on his recent “win” with his HOA which had granted him a slight, very slight, reconfiguration of his driveway.
The reconfiguration made so much sense, but it was not how the property had been laid out. Therefore, this man had filed a request for change with his HOA and then waited. And waited. And waited. He may have even hired a lawyer. I congratulated him on his perseverance as I happened upon the change being built. I suggested that perhaps he’d like to take on the Berlaimont debacle. That’s when he said what he said. Then there’s the RiverPark proposal. Another debacle.
Ever since the 1970s, I have been aware that the developers do always win. To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower on the military-industrial complex, we must guard against the real estate-money lender complex, but we have not. We should have.
It has prevailed since it began. Is there a lot of back-scratching taking place? In the case of quite a few bureaucrats, I suspect it could be either or both. I question how the representative of a government entity, The U.S. Forest Service, that is given the responsibility for protecting our national forests and wildlife, could sell out in such an egregious way when it comes to Berlaimont
It appears from the protests that have taken place over Berlaimont and Riverpark that the public will does not support either of these projects. Both projects are wrong for the way of life in the community. Wrong because of the ultimate cost to those who live here. I don’t mean that I think we should close the gates, but this kind of top-down “improvement” does not work.
Maybe it is too late to stop Berlaimont. Maybe there is still a way. It is not too late to stop RiverPark. Let’s do it.
MaryLamb Lucas is a licensed clinical social worker, writer and psychotherapist who lives in Edwards.