As part of the March 8, 2016 press conference held by Wynn Resorts, MyRWA's Executive Director EkOngKar Singh (EK) Khalsa offered the following comments:
The Mystic River is a great river, a river of history and the Mystic has reached an important turning point. Thirty years ago if you fell into the Mystic you would come out covered in oil and probably need a tetanus shot. Since then our organization and many other advocates have made a difference and the river now enjoys much improved water quality and abundant wildlife including one of the largest river herring migrations in the Commonwealth. This important natural resource is shared by more than one half million people in 22 Mystic River towns and cities all of whom will benefit from increased access to the river and healthier open space on its banks.
The Mystic River Watershed Association has, since 2013, closely followed Wynn Resorts proposal to build a billion dollar resort casino on the banks of the Mystic River. As an environmental organization attuned to the way proposed development projects will impact existing environmental conditions, MyRWA has provided comment letters, public testimony and specific site plan recommendations to the proponents and public officials.
Conditions of the Wynn Resort’s Chapter 91 License, as approved by MA DEP, provides significant public benefit including the remediation of an abandoned and contaminated industrial site, the creation of new waterfront park space, construction of a living shoreline through tidelands and salt marsh restoration and development of a new Harbor Walk that will provide connection to offsite park spaces and pedestrian and bicycle pathways.
In addition to work to which they have already committed, the Wynn Resorts group has given every indication they intend to provide ongoing leadership and support for further restoration of the Mystic River’s tidelands, riverfront and open spaces.
As a result of our participation in what was a robust permitting process and after our review of the permit as issued, the Mystic River Watershed Association supports the conclusions drawn by the Department of Environmental Protection in its Written Determination and its intention to issue a Chapter 91 permit for the Wynn project with appropriate and proportionate conditions.
The resort casino proposed by Wynn Everett has the potential to transform the former Monsanto Chemical property from a forlorn and forgotten hazardous waste site to more productive use and will bring a variety of public benefits to residents of densely developed Mystic River communities.