By John Lynds
For close to two years, the owner of Channel Fish has launched a visual, media and talking campaign against Eversource’s plans to place a substation on a city-owned parcel at the City Yards adjacent to Louis Silvestro’s business in Eagle Square.
With a decision by the state’s Energy Facilities Siting Board on whether or not the substation can be placed at the location imminent, Silvestro’s team is making one last push in the community.
For close to two years, Channel Fish’s attorney Don Berardi has been making the rounds at community meetings and events and Monday night was no different. In the past Berardi and Eversource’s John Hoey have both presented the community with different point of views regarding the substation. While Hoey argued the substation is necessary to handle forecasted electric load growth in the area, Berardi said the existing Chelsea substation that feeds Eastie is enough to handle forecasts. Also, Berardi client, Channel Fish’s owner Louis Silvestro has been pleading his case to the Siting Board who will rule on the substation’s location. Aside from his environmental concerns, Silvestro argues the magnetic field the substation would produce would hinder very sensitive metal detection equipment inside his fish processing plant.
“If one hook ends up in a can of cat food, I’m out of business,” Silvestro has said.
At Monday night’s community meeting Berardi unleashed yet another video of the sobering reality of substations that share space with residential neighborhoods.
The video, which contained explosions, fires and general mayhem that a substation in Eastie may or may not create was presented. While most of what was shown were worst case scenarios and Hoey has long argued the substations in Channel Fish’s videos are in no way the same as the one that is planned for Eastie there was one interesting fact Berardi added to his repertoire Monday night.
Berardi started by showing a quote from Eversource report that stated that they have never placed a substation this close to a park or proposed park in a residential neighborhood.
Then Berardi showed a video of what can happen when a substation placed is dangerously close to recreational space in a neighborhood and it gave some pause for thought.
The video showed the story of 17-year-old Jesus Meneses who died in 2014 after jumping a fence that surrounds a substation in a residential neighborhood in Miami. Meneses was jumping the fence to retrieve a basketball he and his friends were playing with at Kinloch Park. Meneses landed on an electrical grid and was immediately electrocuted to death as his friends looked on in horror. The park Meneses and his friends were playing ball at directly abuts the substation, much like the planned soccer field at the City Yards will abut the proposed substation in Eastie.
“It’s a tragedy like this one we can easily avoid by not placing a substation right next to a park in the neighborhood,” said Berardi.