Parish resources strained by growth

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 1999

L’Observateur / August 14, 1999

It’s apparently becoming a more frequent problem in LaPlace and it needs to be addressed immediately.

The problem is low water pressure. At a dumpster fire behind a rentalbusiness in LaPlace Thursday morning, firefighters struggled in trying to generate water pressure through their hoses to cool down the heated dumpster, as a natural gas pipeline into the shopping center was threatened.

They managed to cool down the gas pipes but the threat was very real of an explosion and loss of life.

St. John the Baptist Parish is in the direct path of the coming expansion ofthe greater New Orleans area. Already, record volumes of residential andcommercial construction are being noted. However, with all this growthmust come an accompanying growth of parish services.

Essential services, such as water, electrical and sewerage, along with police and fire protection, are vital to sustain any municipal growth.

However, it is frightening to see, and not for the first time, firefighters trying to get sufficient water pressure to protect lives and property.

The migration of people from New Orleans and Jefferson toward the outlying parishes is in full flight. Anyone who notices the newsubdivisions going up in St. Charles, St. Tammany and St. John the Baptistparishes are aware of this migration.

Some services are at least making the effort to keep up. St. CharlesParish, which started receiving this growth early, upgraded the sheriff’s office and is now upgrading the sewer department with new centralized treatment plants, albeit under order by the federal government to meet newer standards.

However, there are still shortfalls in St. John Parish, not only in waterquantity, but also in schools and public housing. Without prompt andtargeted attention to the problems, instead of wasting time on fixing blame, this growth could skip past St. John parish and continue upriver.With this being an election year, this will undoubtedly be a prime plank in many platforms – to not only promote the continued growth in the parish, but also to upgrade the parish support systems and infrastructure without which the parish will become an outdated embarrassment.

This is a time for leadership, for a call to arms of sort toward making St.

John the Baptist Parish a showcase. This campaign should, though,concentrate on the solutions and not focus on finding who to blame. That’seasy enough to do. The real work and the real challenge to the newleadership will be to find and implement the solutions.

We can only hope that among the bumper crop of parish presidential and council candidates, there are people up to the challenge. There can belittle of any more importance than to safeguard the future of St. JohnParish for these and coming generations.

Our history shows generations of people who worked hard and well to bring us this far along. Let’s not betray that heritage, and let’s worktogether in partnership to ensure there will be a positive future.

Let’s not have 21st Century voters wonder what happened.


Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

Internet services provided by NeoSoft.

Best viewed with 3.0 or higher