JPNC report is late; members resign

June 10, 2011
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At least two members of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Ad Hoc Whole Foods Committee resigned this week, following the committee’s failure to meet a May 31 deadline to produce a report on the impact of Whole Foods’ planned move to Hyde Square.

Speaking to the Gazette last week, Ad Hoc Committee chair Steve Laferriere told the Gazette he does not think the resignation will have a large impact on the committee, which plans to finalize its report later this month.

Speaking on behalf of the council at a meeting hosted by Whole Foods at the Curley School June 2, Laferriere said the council “looks at tonight’s meeting as the beginning of a process. We hope and expect you will engage with the next couple of months,” he said.

The Ad Hoc Committee has been running a public process open to people who oppose and people who support Whole Foods. Laferierre has previously described it as an effort to “find common ground.”

That has led to some contentious meetings, and many have criticized that effort, particularly because it came after the council took a controversial vote to oppose Whole Foods coming to the neighborhood.

The effort suffered a setback early this week when two pro-Whole Foods members of the committee resigned, complaining about the contentiousness and alleging that the council is biased.

One member Anne Mackin said in a letter that she felt the meetings lacked “cooperation and [a] desire to work constructively.”

Another member who resigned, Erica Bial, said in her letter that the membership of the committee “is strongly skewed against those who might define themselves as ‘pro Whole Foods.’”

In a response letter, Laferriere acknowledged that there are more anti- than pro-Whole Foods members of the committee, but noted that public participation from people on all sides of the issue has been encouraged at the meetings.

 

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