Albany resident and Chairman of Albany Waterfront Committee Brian Parker wrote a commentary on the controversy over UC’s tree-cutting plan at the Gill Tract, responding to a previous commentary on Albany Today:
“I am sure that Mayor Lieber is speaking for the majority of Albany residents when he asks the University to slow down the rush to log the Gill tract trees and to engage the community in looking at alternatives. The Gill Tract trees are one of the most recognizable features of Albany. Like Albany Hill they help define the community. I know I am home after a trip when I see the Gill tract trees. UC has had long term plans to develop the entire Gill tract property. Removing the trees removes one more potential roadblock to the development of the entire property. The trees have been on the property over 40 years and we now face a crisis that requires the removal of 200 trees now?
What is lacking is a comprehensive plan for the entire property. A close look at the tree removal, the radioactive cleanup needs, the future Whole Foods shopping center proposed for San Pablo Avenue, the future of the Little League fields and the broader issue of open space on the Gill Tract. UC is acting as a private developer and with that comes the responsibility to consider the needs and opinions of Albany residents. “