Silver Lake Forward was out in force at the November 14th Community Meeting on the future of the Silver Lake Reservoir complex.
We continue to appreciate the leadership of our Councilmembers O'Farrell and Ryu and are glad that they and the Department of Water and Power hosted another Community meeting.
However, we were disappointed to hear that DWP chose not to follow the wishes of the 800+ residents who responded to the Silver Lake Reservoir Conservancy survey and the 1,000+ signers of the Silver Lake Forward petition and partially remove the concrete along the banks of the Reservoir now, while the reservoir is empty. We believe the majority of the local community favors more natural banks and plantings, and we are disappointed that DWP have retreated from their earlier indications that removing the concrete was doable before the May 1 refilling target date.
To be clear, we don't believe (based on the DWP's own statements) that removing the concrete would delay the refilling schedule, and everyone concerned with improving wildlife habitat should support additional green space inside the Reservoir complex. DWP's proposal presented at the meeting to paint the banks was not shared early enough with the community to allow for thoughtful discussion, and the format of the community meeting was not structured in such a way as to create consensus.
We learned at the meeting that the two Councilmembers will be funding a consultant to continue the conversation about the future of the Reservoir Complex. Silver Lake Forward will enthusiastically participate in future planning processes, and look forward to connecting as soon as possible with the consultant.
We would strongly encourage the Councilmembers and the consultant to develop a better plan for facilitation for future meetings:
- Sharing the agenda and potential decision points before the meeting
- Using more representative and productive facilitation strategies
- Beginning the conversation with reference to survey data and other valid assessments
- Using postcard mailings and other strategies to make sure that the full community is notified of future meetings.
We'll be continuing to gather petition signatures and are looking forward to working productively with the new consultant and moving forward towards creating a real plan for the future of the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex.