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City Council Puts Its Foot Down, Opposes County’s Devil Gate Dam Plans

Published on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | 5:10 am

Pasadena will tell Los Angeles County that “we’re not backing down” in opposition to the currently proposed project in Hahamongna Watershed Park that seeks to remove 4 million cubic yards of sediment.

“There has to be ‘a’ project, it just can’t be this project,” Councilmember Margaret McAustin said.

The Los Angeles County Flood District has called for an emergency measure to remove the sediment from the Devil’s Gate Reservoir to protect the county from a potential flood. The proposed removal will involve one truck per minute, six days a week for five years.

Several community members and council members asked for a slowing down of the project and to consider how much sediment must be removed in order to make the dam safe.

The Council voted to retain a special consultant who is an expert in sediment removal to help the city formulate a sustainable alternative that has the city interests in mind, particularly related to the Hahamongna Master Plan, into which the city placed much effort and money.

The Mayor will establish a special Pasadena committee made up of experts, community members and staff to develop this preferred plan from Pasadena’s point of view of the sediment removal.

“We have an opportunity here, we rightfully pride ourselves on being a green city. Let’s please work with the county, we don’t need to do the big dig, we don’t need to destroy habitat, we don’t need to increase cancer. We can go slow. Let’s be forward thinking and sustainable,” Laura Garrett said during public comment.

Lori Paul asked why the Flood District is making this dig so much larger than the original project that was ordered by the Board of Supervisors.

“A lot of us suspect its because of that 28 million dollar grant that’s been approved for the Eaton Canyon pipeline to take water from Hahamongna over to Eaton Canyon spreading basin. There is a whole bunch of water politics and money involved in that. You need a large pond to put a pump in. In order to create a large pond you need a large hole,” Paul said.

Councilmember John Kennedy asked that the council be robust in their exercise of power and Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson emphasized that the burden would be on the city and the County needed to be responsive to that burden.

“We believe ourselves to be a responsible agency. We believe ourselves to have substantial control. We should not concede at this early stage in what is obviously going to be a hard and lengthy discussion with the County,” Bogaard said.

The City will submit comments for the draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed project and will also conduct its own research to find an alternative that better serves the city’s interests and needs.

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