Op-Ed: An epic victory in the battle for free-flowing rivers
The fight over the Upper River is often portrayed as a battle between two local communities over water. But in reality, it’s a fight over free and unfettered access to water on the scale of the city of Cleveland itself. Nowhere did that battle take place more clearly than at Lake Erie, where the residents of the city’s affluent neighborhoods, some of them environmentalists and farmers, have forced the government to abandon a river basin proposal that would have allowed the construction of a new water plant in the city without any consideration of the health and environmental costs.
The residents of the city’s affluent neighborhoods have made it clear that they will not tolerate any future plans to build a new water plant in their neighborhood. They are fighting because they want to enjoy lakefront homes and gardens free of the pollution created by a new water plant that would have been built in the lakefront community, instead of the neighborhoods of Cleveland’s poor, which have already been subjected to the worst levels of pollution in the nation.
Instead, in the current proposal, a new water plant would have been built on the eastern shore of Lake Erie. The residents of Lakewood, Cleveland and other wealthy areas would have been subjected to the same levels of pollution that has already been exposed to their communities by a new water plant.
The fight by Lake homeowners against the proposal began in earnest in 2016, with the Lakewood Heights residents holding a public meeting on the issue. They were followed in 2017 and 2018 by a series of public meetings. On May 7, the city’s new mayor, Richard Jackson, announced, “The residents of Lakewood Heights will have two months to make their case against the new water plant.” A series of meetings would start on June 14.
The Lakewood homeowners association is now suing the city over the fact that the city has failed to comply with the association’s due process rights. The lawsuit alleges the community’s opposition was ignored by the city’s own zoning board and that the city is not using the best interests of the community as a guide in its water plant decision.
The Lakewood residents’ opposition to the water plant is not just based on the fear that