When gambling is in decline, lake quality is deteriorating and transportation continues to be an issue-can we save the lake and its residents before we cause irreversible damage? I may pose this question in a threatening and hyper-hypothetical way but for those that have called Tahoe home for decades it is a very real problem that needs solid answers and commitment. Thanks to Steve Teshara and Sustainable Community Advocates I can share the following information regarding this massive, exciting regional plan.
While for some it may seem that this new proposal snuck up on us within the last year, but the truth is that this plan has been research and considered for about 8 years. The last regional plan was over 2 decades ago and as we all know, the Earth, type of tourist and type of resident in Tahoe has changed since then. Two weeks ago public hearings were held so residents, business owners and interested parties could give their opinion to the 5 provided alternatives to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Regional Plan Update. But these public hearings were only a small sample compared to the large amount of comments mailed in.
Each Alternative was highly researched as educational trips were taken to places such as Monterey, Moss Landing and Livermore. These examples provided information regarding tourist accommodation, downtown development and various research programs that are empowering the community to do better for the Earth. None of these towns are perfect and they still have very large problems that they are trying to solve but these areas are recognizing that something needs to be done and are coming together to do it.
One of the main complaints that the proposal is trying to solve is what to do with old, dilapidated buildings. The government can’t come through with funding to fix these structures and there is debate over how much private companies can and should invest into Lake communities. Another important issue is the environmental quality of the Lake and the overall transportation that is contributing to the decline in water quality. The proposal suggests walkable communities, but there also needs to be consideration for winter conditions, ski resort transportation and trips from one side of the Lake to the other. Our mountain roads are not great at supporting large buses for long distances.
With 66,000 permanent residents and 3 million tourists each year, there’s a need to enact stewardship beyond your personal preferences and desires. One company, group or organization cannot fix the Lake. ALL companies, groups, organizations and INDIVIDUALS need to realize they play a part in this extraordinary plan. TRPA will continue the process of fine tuning the Regional Plan, with a strong lean towards Alternative 3, until December.
You have the ability to participate and remain active in these huge decisions affecting the Basin – periodically check into http://www.tahoefuture.org/getinvolved/ and remain part of the conversation.