Lack of consultation results in wrong info
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 00:40
by Mar-Vic Cagurangan | Variety News Staff
THE draft environmental impact statement contains some inaccurate information about Guam because military planners failed to engage local participation during the assessment process, according to Henry Simpson, president of Guam Racing Federation.
Simpson pointed specifically to the proposed layout of the Marines’ firing range project on Route 15, which marked the Yigo Raceway Park as an “abandoned raceway park.”
“No one even bothered to ask me if it is indeed abandoned. Have they consulted us, they would have found out that the Yigo raceway is not an abandoned facility,” Simpson said.
“I wasn’t aware of this map layout until somebody came up to me and said ‘sorry that you’re going to lose the race park.’ That had me concerned,” he added.
The Navy is seeking to secure undeveloped properties on Route 15, commonly known as “Andy South,” to build a training complex for live and inert munitions practice and that requires safety buffers, known as surface danger zones and special use airspace. The properties are also being eyed as a possible site for aviation training and exercises for landing and takeoffs.
Most of the properties in the target area are part of the Chamorro Ancestral Lands Commission’s inventory. The racing federation is leasing a government property where the race track is situated.
Simpson said the raceway federation is seeking audience with the Navy officials to discuss possible options that include allowing the race track to stay in the area, which is a safe distance away from the firing direction.
“We can be good neighbors. We’re tying to get the military to embrace the race track as a recreation for troops who will come to Guam,” Simpson said.
But the military must propose a relocation site for the race track if it is bent on acquiring the property where the race facility is located, Simpson said.
“If they really need this area, we are willing to move out. But they should come up with a mitigation plan. Unfortunately, no one is talking to us,” Simpson said. “We don’t want this to be an adverse issue with the military but we don’t want them to run us over.”