Members of the Fresh Creek Civic Association (FCCA) logged into Webex on Saturday afternoon for a very interesting and timely virtual meeting, during which FCCA President Maria Garrett placed a focus on the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.
Although some who suffered at the hands of Sandy often prefer to forget the terrible event, others, like Garrett and the members of her group, understand the tremendous importance of doing the exact opposite. If ever a natural disaster should impact Canarsie again, the group intends to be more prepared to mitigate the damage and better positioned to receive the essential government resources that were slow in coming last time around. Garrett, who has been working closely with a variety of government and non-profit agencies over the years, has also been monitoring the progress of various flood mitigation projects.
She told the group that while much had already been done, there is still a great deal of work to do, particularly on the bulkheads that have been repaired, but have yet to be fully restored. She explained that contractors have begun to perform regular maintenance on the tide gates on East 108th Street between Avenue J and Seaview Avenue – a project that was completed recently this June – by removing a large amount of garbage and debris. Garrett also reported that the Parks Department has put up a fence near the nature preserve, contractors have put down sod to restore the area, and she is working with the Governor’s Office of Resilience on getting flowers and native plants put in place there.
As well, Garrett conducted an informal survey of the meeting’s participants, who are also her neighbors, in order to collect feedback to share with the Comptroller’s office, regarding flood risk awareness, current flooding issues and any drastic increases in the cost of flood insurance that residents have noticed over the last few years. Most residents reported that they were aware of their flood risk and zone, have not have any significant flooding since Sandy and have had their flood insurance policies become increasingly more expensive, in some cases having nearly doubled since Sandy, which was concerning for sure.
They also discussed whether or not solar panels were financially advantageous, how best to address the expanding rodent population near the East 105th Street subway station and the way road rage and gun violence have affected the community, among other issues.
The civic president announced that the group’s next meeting is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, November 19th but whether it is held virtually or in person is dependent on COVID infection rates and will be decided closer to the event date. Prior to the pandemic, the group had met in the community room of a local library, which was very close quarters for such a large group and would take some members out of their comfort zone considering the current climate. The group’s resident nurse reminded the group that COVID has not gone away, that numbers will likely rise as the weather becomes colder and advised others to continue wearing masks indoors to stop the spread of COVID and the flu this season.