Supervisor Gonser knew about a proposed gas pipeline through Oakand Township more than a month before the Parks and Recreation Commission was informed that the pipeline was proposed to go through one of our Parks. Gonser chose not to inform the Parks Commission about this project. He later approved the survey work on the park land even though he knew the Parks Commission had not approved the request.
As reported previously on this website, Vector Pipeline, a representative of DTE, met with the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission on November 12, 2014 to request approval from the Parks Commission to proceed with a survey through Draper Twin Lakes Park to potentially install a 42 inch diameter gas line. This proposed path is an optional path Vector Pipeline wanted to consider rather than using an existing right of way adjacent to the Park property. There was no good reason given for why Vector Pipeline preferred to use the parkland. This line would traverse our entire Township. The Parks Commission did not grant approval to proceed with the survey work. However, a few days after the meeting, a survey company was seen surveying the parkland. Upon investigation, it was discovered that Supervisor Gonser had given approval to survey the land without the Parks Commission’s knowledge or approval.
Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) indicates that Supervisor Gonser met with DTE, knew about the proposal, had a map of the proposed path, and sent a letter to the Board members informing them of project more than a month (October 2 and 3) before the Parks Commission meeting. Supervisor Gonser apparently did not feel it necessary to inform the Parks Commission since they were not included on his email.
Gonser’s letter also included a draft letter that Vector Pipeline planned to send to all affected landowners prior to doing any surveying. The Parks Commission never received a copy of the letter. Gonser must have felt that since he had seen the letter, he felt it acceptable to approve the survey request even though he knew the Parks Commission had not approved it.
A discussion of Gonser’s actions on this issue is on the agenda for the January 13 BOT meeting. Please come to the meeting or watch the discussion on your computer or TV.
Here are the documents obtained through the FOIA process:
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The Township Board, and particularly Supervisor Gonser, has had a number of confrontations with the Parks and Recreation Commission. Some of these confrontations have escalated to formal legal proceedings. Gonser’s obvious “in your face” decision to approve the survey work without having shared his prior knowledge of the project is yet another one of his ‘attacks’ on the Parks Commission. He approved the request without having valid reasons given for why the existing right of ways could not be used. His underhanded withholding of information from the Parks Commission is yet another example of his leadership style and ethics.
He claims to spend 50 to 60 hours per week on Township work, yet he could not take 30 seconds and include the Parks Commission on distribution on his October 3, 2014 email?