Councilman Vela Responds To Wetlands Controversy
Many residents in Laredo feel deeply about the wetland's. City Councilman, Roque Vela, spoke with me today on how the city would handle this project. "
"I think it's going to be a great development for the city of Laredo and I just want people to understand we're not going to destroy the wetlands."
Last week environmentalist Tricia Cortez talked to our Orlando Garza, voicing her fear that the natural area would get destroyed when this new shopping center is built.
"Once this sale happens and this place is gone, it's history. it's gone forever."
But Vela says that's not true. He says the city will first try to build around the wetlands and if anything, there will be three less acres.
"In the grand scheme of things, we're going to go from 13 acres, not 16 acres. The current wetland is 13 acres. instead of having 13 acres, we'll relocate the detention pond."
Eighty eight acres are owned by the city where town center will be built. Vela says he and the rest of the city council members have the best interest of the city in mind. He also adds that there is an area of 53 acres near the area in question that is a natural conservation easement.
"When I'm gone and when you're gone, this wetlands is still going to be a wetland. they cannot build on this 53 acres of wetland."
However, Cortez is concerned that if the wetlands are destroyed that it will affect Lake Casa Blanca.
"This wetland is highly functioning and has been here for decades now and plays a tremendous role in filtering out a lot of hydrocarbons, contaminants coming off the airport, Loop 20 and filters all that out before it hits the lake."
Vela also doesn't recommend people going out to the wetlands because the area is owned by the airport and is considered private property and is difficult to get to.
Vela believes that the shopping center will be a great boost to the local Laredo economy.