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COURIER LIFE, N 12 OVEMBER 19-25, 2021
DEC halt dredging
for Coney ferry
BY JESSICA PARKS
A cadre of Coney Island activists
diligently monitoring the dredging of
Coney Island Creek are calling on the
state to end work on the peninsula’s
coming ferry landing after new video
shows toxic materials being dumped
into the waterway.
“Today we are standing here because
our worst suspicions have been
confi rmed,” said Assemblymember
Mathylde Frontus at a Nov. 10 press
conference on the improper dredging.
“The city is telling us one thing — they
are keeping us safe — but they are doing
something else when they think no
one is looking.”
The group, Coney Islanders for an
Oceanside Ferry, took to the site that
day to expose the New York City Economic
Development Corporation’s alleged
failure to abide by permit regulations
to protect the surrounding area
from toxins when dredging in Coney
Island Creek to make way for the incoming
ferry landing at the westerly edge of
The ferry landing has been a yearslong
topic of controversy on the peninsula.
Environmentalists worry about
the toxic sediment being exposed from
the dredging and its potential longterm
effects on marine life, while residents of
the nearby Gravesend Houses fear they
will lose their local greenspace to tourists
— and say their health is being impacted.
Many others also argue that the
landing should be situated on the ocean
side of Coney Island, closer to the amusement
Representatives for EDC — the agency
spearheading the construction of ferry
landings across the city — has told Brooklyn
Paper on multiple occasions that they
take what is seen at the creek very seriously.
This time, they’ve halted any further
dredging work with the subcontractor
Mechanical and Marine Construction
Corporation and launched an investigation
into the matter.
“We are committed to safety and protecting
the environment in this project,
so we take what we saw in that video extremely
seriously,” an agency rep said.
“NYCEDC mandated Skanska (the construction
company) launch an investigation
into the incident and work performed
by their subcontractor, Mechanical and
Marine Construction Corp. As a result,
Skanska has informed us the subcontractor
is no longer working on the dredging
Frontus, who represents the People’s
Playground in Albany, said at the Nov. 10
press conference that EDC told her offi ce
that there was a lapse of supervision at
the same time the video was taken.
Dredging has been going on to make way for
the ferry. Photo by Jessica Parks
“In 24 hours, we received an email
stating the subcontractor on this project
did not follow established protocol due
to a lapse in supervision. This was our
worst fears coming true and indeed it’s a
nightmare for those of us who live right
here on the peninsula,” she said.
Now, Frontus is asking the state Department
of Environmental Conservation,
which ensures projects like the
ferry landing construction follow city
environmental measures, revoke EDC’s
permits and take steps to make sure the
creek is being dredged properly.
“I am standing here today to demand
that the state DEC immediately revoke
the permits issued to the City of New
York and stop this construction project,”
the pol said. “We need to take steps
to ensure that this community’s health
is protected — that is the bare minimum
that they could do and it’s the right thing
The state agency has so far issued two
violations to EDC for work related to the
ferry landing. The fi rst violation was issued
on Sept. 21, more than three months
after DEC received complaints that construction
debris was found in a tidal wetland
area. The second violation was issued
Nov. 9 for falling out of compliance
on dredging protocols, though the investigation
is still ongoing.
“The New York State Department
of Environment Conservation closely
monitors all projects under its jurisdiction
for compliance with permits
and has been doing so in the case of the
City’s Economic Development Corporation
ferry terminal project on Coney
Island,” an agency spokesperson said.
“DEC is committed to being responsive
to community concerns about the
ferry project construction and has investigated
all complaints received to
date. DEC has issued two Notices of
Violation for this project to date. Pursuant
to DEC’s oversight and enforcement
authority as laid out in state law,
DEC will conduct robust enforcement
when violations are found.”
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