Boaters to city: Sanitation plan a bunch of garbage

It stinks!: Mel Gagliano of the Marine Basin Marina says the city’s planned waste transfer site for this location will be a disaster for Gravesend Bay.
Photo by Derrick Lytle

Boaters using a Bath Beach marina fear that they’ll be sailing through a minefield of garbage if the city anchors a waste transfer station at the mouth of Gravesend Bay.

Albany officials have already signed off on the Department of Sanitation’s plan to dock a garbage barge where a former incinerator once stood, but Mel Gagliano, a partner at the Marine Basin Marina, said the waste transfer station will foul up the air and stir up toxins and undetonated bombs that he says remain buried under the sea floor.

“We used to watch the ash from the incinerator blow into the water. It’s all down there still,” said Gagliano, whose slips accommodate more than 200 private boats.

The Gravesend Bay incinerator closed in 1991, but Gagliano said diver Gene Ritter discovered 1,500 live artillery shells buried in the bay floor a few years ago. The explosives came from a Navy ship that capsized in Gravesend Bay in 1954 and were never removed — which Gagliano finds especially frightening.

“They’re still down there, and if the people putting in the garbage barge hit one, who knows what could happen,” Gagliano said.

Michael Gregorio, who’s been docking at Marine Basin for more than 20 years, argued that the project will destroy Gravesend’s waterfront fun for generations to come.

“Gravesend Bay is a recreational area,” said Gregorio, pointing out the fishermen who frequently cast lines into the water along the nearby promenade, the multi-million dollar kayak and canoe facilities the city built at Dreier Offerman Park, and the Adventurer’s amusement park on Shore Parkway — which sits right in front of the station’s future location. “You’re going to have tugboats and barges and trucks coming in and out of here, and they’re going to ruin it for everyone.”

Another longtime boater, Beannard Fioriello, said the traffic congestion from an invading fleet of Sanitation trucks would push him to moor his boat elsewhere.

“If I’m going to have to sit for 35 minutes on Bay Parkway to get here, I’m going to find someplace else,” said the 35-year Marine Basin sea-goer, who participated in a floating protest against the station in 2009.

Residents on the other side of Shore Parkway fear fumes and vermin pouring out of the facility — and say they’ll have to deal with them year-round.

“It’s no good, it’s going to make the entire neighborhood stink,” said Eric Wong. “We’ll have to move.”

Wong’s neighbor Fernanda Friedrich, who’s attended community meetings to protest the installation, agreed.

“We don’t want it. There’ll be pollution everywhere, and rats and mice will come and eat the garbage,” Friedrich said.

Yet Commissioner Martens said he was convinced that the facility’s impact on the surrounding area would be minimal, and pointed out that those who opposed the project failed to back up their claims with expert opinions.

“No substantive and significant issue has been raised,” the Commissioner said in his decision.

Assemblyman Bill Colton (D-Bensonhurst) said he intends to sue the city to stop it from building the station.

“This is a dangerous plan, the city has not taken the proper precaution, and this is not the place to build it,” the pol said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

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