Parallel Project Deserves Full Vetting [OPINION]
Right out of the gate, I can tell you that what Parallel Products is proposing for the New Bedford Business Park doesn't appear to be a good fit for that location. But let's see.
The thought of hauling bio-solids and trash from God knows where for treatment at the Business Park is enough to give any Ward One resident the willies. How much traffic would be generated? What about odors and rodents and noise? Will property values be negatively impacted? Those are just a few of the many solid questions that have been raised about this proposal.
Parallel Products says all of those issues and more have been adequately addressed in its permit applications with the state. Before any permits are granted, we expect there will be time for public comment and perhaps even a public hearing or two. In the meantime, elected officials and citizens with concerns need to be gathering as much information as they can so they can be prepared for that process and so that they can make an informed decision about where they stand on the project.
Let me also suggest that the folks at Parallel Products are not evil villains looking to ruin your day or your neighborhood. These are professional people with professional solutions to the trash crisis that exists in Massachusetts and across the nation. If this project was being proposed for the middle of the woods somewhere, most people would probably praise it as innovative and a positive step towards addressing the crisis.
It is not in the middle of the woods but in the middle of the Business Park and near existing businesses and homes. Therein lays the problem.
Should we determine that this location is not best suited for this project or that the company has not provided adequate solutions to our concerns, we must be prepared to present a cogent, fact-based and not emotional argument against it. The state doesn't care about local politics or whether you want this type of facility within two miles of your property. The state knows it has a trash crisis and will likely site this project unless there is a good reason not to.
We owe it to ourselves, to our community and to the folks at Parallel Products to listen to the proposal, ask the questions and do the research. An emotional knee-jerk reaction will almost guarantee state approval of this project.
Programming note: Parallel Products Vice President For Business Development Tim Cusson will be live on my program for a full hour on Thursday at 2 pm to answer any questions you might have about this proposal.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.