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^ (left) Mike McCann, suffering a debilitating respiratory illness, addressing the meeting; (center) Mayor Walsh spoke (right) Senator Mike rush set forth the legislation governing quarry reclamation

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Even if the owners of the huge quarry that the LoRusso family operates in the midst of West Roxbury had the neighbors’ trust, their present proposal — to fill the quarry hole with construction-site soils — would generate opposition. And West Roxbury people don’t trust the qauarry owners at all.

That was the message at last night’s meeting at Elks Hall. At least 400 people showed up, standing room only, to express their intense opposition to the quarry owners’ landfiull proposal.

The meting was called by Mayor Marty Walsh, who was present at it, as was Congressman Stephen Lynch. One doesn’t nornally see Congressman Lynch at a local meeting on a local issue, and he said so. Mayor Walsh said the saem thing. But, said both men, this was different. The landfill proposal is a major community issue and one that they will take an active role in resolving in West Roxbury residents’ favor.

The facts of the quarry proposal were explained clearly in detail by State Senator mike rush, who in the process of fighting the quarry — the proposal was fitst bruited last year — has become perhaps the legislature’s top expert on quarry reclamation matters. Rush outlined legsialtion that has been enacted with respect to quarry landfills, truck transport, and contamination matters. Rush also made clear to the large gathering that the state’s top environmental regulator is aware of the quarry issue and will not sign off on any landfill proposal that the community does not support.

Also on hand were State Representatives Ed Coppinher and Angelo Scaccia and City Councillor Matt O’Malley, who announced that his proposed otdinance regarding zoning oversight of the quarry wa adopred unanimously and signed by Mayor Walsh — and that it now awaits BRA approval. It was not said whether that approval would be given.

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^ at least 400 people crowded into the Elks Hall

The quarry, which occupies 55 acres of prime real estate in the southeast quarter of West Roxbury, has been digging and blasting rock into gravel since 1893 — so said Mayor walsh. it has long been a given; and the people who have bought homes situated near it have known that the quarry was their neighbor. But they probably did not know, when they voluntarily accepted the quarrty as a presence, that blasting dust might lead yo respiratory diseases — one such man (Mike McCann, I think) spoke to the gathered crowd and was an eloquent presence, carrying his breathing apparatus and his tearful declaration that he wanted to work — badly wanted, always had worked — but now could not.

Nor did the people who have bought homes near the quarry thereby accepted that it would seek to do a landfill that includes very contaminated soil. Just how contaminated that soil might be, and with what, was set forth in a slide show that also made clear that the quarry owners’ statement did not accord with waht they claimed it said on the contamination issue.
Thus the distrust, and the justice of it.

Nor was there any support for the qaurry owners’ proposl to truck the landfill in at a rate of maybe 600 trucks — huge dump trucks — a day. The number seems almost unbelievable. No residential community can accept that kind of disruption.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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