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In The News

Developer: Labor groups support review

BY SHAUN BISHOP
Daily News, 7/30/10

The developer who wants to build thousands of homes on the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City announced Thursday that a dozen Bay Area labor groups back the city’s decision to do an environmental review of the controversial project.

The labor organizations, which the developer says represent 300,000 workers, expressed their support for the process about two months after the city council authorized initiation of an environmental impact report on the Redwood City Saltworks plan, a joint effort of Cargill and developer DMB Associates.

In May, opponents of the project, including environmental groups and dozens of elected officials from around the Bay Area, urged the city council to stop the project, saying an environmental review is unnecessary because the salt ponds clearly aren’t suitable for development.

Cargill and DMB Associates want to develop up to 12,000 homes, commercial space and sports fields on the 1,436-acre site east of Highway 101, as well as restore about 400 acres to wetlands.

“We don’t know how long this recession will last; this plan could provide thousands of jobs for workers at a time of record high unemployment,” Bill Nack, business manager of the San Mateo County Building Trades Council, said in a statement released by the Saltworks developers. “Labor would be proud to work on this project and supports the review process that could make it possible.”

In addition to the building trades council, other organizations that support the city council’s move include the San Mateo County Central Labor Council, California Conference of Carpenters and Contra Costa County Building Trades.

An economic impact study commissioned by the developer found that the project would generate 33,400 construction jobs over a phased, 30-year construction period.

David Lewis, executive director of the environmental group Save the Bay, which opposes the Saltworks project, said it’s not surprising that labor groups would support a housing project that would generate thousands of jobs.

“But it’s beside the point,” he said. “This is not the site for housing. There are lots of opportunities for truly smart growth, transitoriented development, economically sustainable communities.”

 

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