By Julia Glendening
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Bob Fenwick, an Independent candidate for Charlottesville City Council, held his fourth “Fenwick Forum” on August 8, 2009 to discuss the 50-year community water supply plan. A handful of citizens and reporters gathered at the First Amendment monument on the Downtown Mall to hear Fenwick’s comments. He suggested the use of a small pilot dredging program and said the replacement of the Ragged Mountain Dam was unnecessary and construction should not begin until more information was gathered.
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Fenwick said a new dam would not be needed due to the increased water conservation by Charlottesville residents, the use of low flow devices, and the implementation of ordinance restrictions which have all led to a lower consumption rate. He said this downward trend will continue and the future water demand will be lower than the 18.7 million gallons a day projected to be required by 2055.
Dede Smith, a member of the group Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan, asked Fenwick whether he would require a new demand analysis if elected to City Council. The existing demand analysis was prepared by Gannett Fleming in 2004. Fenwick said he definitely would require a new analysis and would not allow any money to be allotted to construction of the dam until the study was completed and evaluated.
Fenwick recommended that City Council and other political leaders not rush into any costly construction projects before doing a small dredging feasibility study to determine whether the dredging is a possible alternative. He said if he was elected to City Council, he would try to create as much political and local support as possible to stop dam construction.
“Get all the information you can get,” urged Fenwick. “Don’t make a precipitous decision that could cost us.”
Fenwick said he does not believe Mayor Dave Norris has been assertive enough with the dredging issue and needs to be more proactive in his efforts to prevent the construction of the dam.
“[Norris] has to be a leader. He has to do more than talk,” said Fenwick.
Fenwick is running against Paul Long (I), Dave Norris (D), and Kristin Szakos (D) in the November 3, 2009 City Council election. Andrew Williams (I) is also running a write-in campaign for one of the two available seats on City Council.
See Charlottesville Tomorrow’s
Election Watch page
for complete coverage of the City’s 2009 elections.