Environmental Danger: What is at stake

“If the MRA builds this enormous lodge and conference complex with an underground parking garage, there are going to be impacts that go well beyond neighboring cottage owners. This is major, major construction that will affect the integrity of Assembly Drive. It will require many heavy cement trucks and fill trucks and house, plus giant drills to put pylons into bedrock many feet below the surface of the slope, which is probably a lot more weight and wear and tear than Assembly Drive was designed to bear.

Construction also will affect Flat Creek. I expect that even if the construction companies in charge have barriers to down-slope transport of solids, there will still be discharge of hydrocarbons, metals, and probably radiation. The radiation comes from naturally-occurring uranium, radium, and thorium that is present in a lot of concrete aggregate, and it is soluble in water. It’s a very big concern with the construction of an underground parking garage on a mountain slope that feeds groundwater into the stream just a few feet away. An underground parking garage will leach that radiation, plus hydrocarbons from leaking automobile oil and automotive gunk, for as long as the garage exists, into streams and wells.

Additionally, this conference center/hotel complex will increase the impermeable surfaces on the site by a degree of magnitude. That means a lot of uncontrolled stormwater runoff into the stream and a loss of considerable amounts of tree cover and wildlife habitat.

I don’t know that the MRA or anyone else has a legal right to build a structure that will have those kinds of impacts.”

  • Heather Williams

Professor of Politics, Incoming Chair of the Program in Environmental Analysis

Pomona College, California

Co-founder of a community-based water monitoring, education, and stewardship project in the Lake Titicaca basin (Peru and Bolivia)

Threatened Wildlife include the Eastern Hellbender Salamander and Fireflies

Upper Swannanoa River Watershed Management Plan shows threat of development to local streams and rare species.

Montreat was the first Town in North Carolina to be certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.