The answer: death by a thousand cuts.
Both of these developments were planned over the objections of the majority of local residents. And these are each of the thousand cuts that destroy our environment and our climate.
The two propositions, Berlaimont and Edwards RiverPark, are perfect examples of the ancient Chinese torture of lingchi – slowly slicing the skin to death – which was practiced in Imperial China from the mid to late 10th century until when it was abolished in 1905. I equate this torture to the way many precious open countries and sacred indigenous lands were carved out by developers in the name of improvement. It is improvement for profit, which means that a business is successful.
Let me tell you a story: the man said “developers always win”. The man was the newest in a long line of those who spoke the same words, but this one is right here in Eagle County. He was responding to my comment about his recent “win” with his HOA which had granted him a slight, very slight, reconfiguration of his driveway.
The reconfiguration made so much sense, but it was not how the property had been laid out. Therefore, this man had filed a change request with his HOA and then waited. And waited. And waited. He may have even hired a lawyer. I praised him for his persistence as I came across the change being built. I suggested he might like to tackle the Berlaimont debacle. It was then that he said what he said. Then there is the RiverPark proposal. Another debacle.
Since the 1970s, I’ve been aware that developers always win. To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower on the military-industrial complex, we have to beware of the real estate-moneylender complex, but we haven’t. We should have.
It has prevailed from the start. Is there a lot of back scratching? In the case of many bureaucrats, I suspect it could be one or both. I wonder how the representative of a government entity, the US Forest Service, which is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our national forests and wildlife, could sell so blatantly when it comes to Berlaimont
It appears from the demonstrations which took place in Berlaimont and Riverpark that the public will does not support any of these projects. Both projects are bad for the lifestyle of the community. False because of the ultimate cost to those who live here. I don’t mean to say that I think we should close the doors, but that kind of top-down “improvement” doesn’t work.
Perhaps it is too late to stop Berlaimont. There may still be a way. It’s not too late to shut down RiverPark. Let’s do it.
Mary Lamb Lucas is a licensed clinical social worker, writer and psychotherapist who lives in Edwards.