Dozens of West Covina residents Tuesday night voiced their support for a proposed development which would build a 400-room resort hotel, along with an amphitheater, horseback riding and hiking trails on the site of the former BKK landfill.
Citing much-needed jobs and decrying racism and bigotry at the heart of opposition, West Covina residents who spoke at Tuesday’s City Council meeting said the proposal presented by Arcadia developer Singpoli was too good to pass up.
“If someone comes to your city and offers to make (an) investment in a dump, you gotta listen,” West Covina resident Bill Elliott said.
Elliott, who described himself as “a homeowner, and a rabble-rouser,” said Singpoli’s multi-million dollar investment in the BKK landfill would ensure West Covina wouldn’t have to pass a contentious utilities tax to balance its budget.
A handful of development skeptics also attended.
According to Angela Gonzales, also a West Covina resident and mother of one, waste still at BKK includes mercury, copper, lead, and methane, and exposure to such waste can cause cerebral palsy, low birthweight, and deafness in children.
“What we need is a safe place for ourselves and our families,” Gonzales said. “So I plead with you, as our elected officials, please give us that safety.”
Some alleged that racial prejudice motivated the opposition, which is led by a homeowner whose backyard overlooks the undeveloped site.
West Covina resident John Shoemaker said City Councilman Tony Wu should be seen as doing his best for residents by advocating for the Singpoli proposal.
“When I look at Tony [Wu], I see the American dream,” Shoemaker said.