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DWP looking at whether to keep – and possibly paint – the concrete banks of Silver Lake Reservoir

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SILVER LAKE — Should the concrete sides of the Silver Lake Reservoir be removed now, while it’s still empty, and be replaced with more natural-looking banks? The L.A. Department of Water and Power is pondering the idea.
“No firm solution was decided at last week’s community meeting,” said Amanda Parsons from the L.A. DWP. “Ultimately, this issue remains under discussion.”
The LADWP discussed the idea to keep the concrete at a recent public meeting to update residents on plans to refill the reservoir. People who attended last week’s meeting said that agency officials were concerned that removing the concrete would delay the refilling the basin, which is scheduled to begin next May. That position has left advocacy groups disagreeing with each other — while mutually criticizing the DWP.
Silver Lake Forward, which has pushed to replace the concrete with natural plantings that would increase green space, released a statement expressing disappointment with the idea, saying, “We don’t believe … that removing the concrete would delay the refilling schedule, and everyone concerned with improving wildlife habitat should support additional green space inside the Reservoir complex.”.
But Jill Cordes, co-founder of Refill Silver Lake Now, expressed no doubt that removing the concrete banks would delay the refill deadline.
“We have been committed to making sure the reservoir gets refilled starting May 1,” Cordes said. “If bringing down the sides would delay that date – which it sounds like it would – then we absolutely cannot support that idea.”
Both groups, however, took the DWP to task for the decision process, and for how the meeting was run.
“The format of the meeting just allowed people to yell at each other and at the DWP and council offices with no real plan in place for how to definitively move forward,” Cordes said. “The DWP presented options to paint the sides but didn’t show any sort of renderings as to what it would look like with the various colors.”
On this point, SLF agreed.
“DWP’s proposal presented at the meeting to paint the banks was not shared early enough with the community to allow for thoughtful discussion, and the format of the community meeting was not structured in such a way as to create consensus,” the statement from SLF said.
But Parsons said the DWP primarily wanted to get opinions.
“The goal of this meeting was not to achieve consensus, but rather to obtain public comment,” Parsons said. “We saw the meeting as a good first vetting of people’s ideas for the long term vision of Silverlake Reservoir.”
The reservoir was drained last year to construct a pipeline along the reservoir bed as part of a much larger water-quality improvement project.
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