Sunday, May 27, 2012

RALLY TIME - At gatehouse, May 28, 3:00pm

Tomorrow you and your families will have the opportunity to rally to show how much you want to “Save Lake Thicket” and its wildlife.

We are scheduling a 3:00 PM May 28 rally beginning at the gatehouse and continuing as late as 5:00 PM.

We will have some signs for you to carry as we register our concerns.  You are encouraged to bring your own signs that express why you want to “Save Lake Thicket” and its wildlife. 
Don’t forget also to bring American flags to show how our neighborhood honors our soldiers.  And bring some drinks to share with your neighbors. 

Happy Memorial Day!!!!!

Your busy Next Door Committee

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lake Thicket - Is Skanska Really Green in Houston, Texas?

From: Don Johnson
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2012 11:08 PM
To: Karin Lepasoon, Skanska
Subject: Is Skanska Really Green in Houston, Texas?

Attached is a letter with two photographs which make a case for us, your future neighbors, to call into question Skanska's commitment to conscientious stewardship of the environment and to sustainable development. Hard copies of these attachments should arrive at your office early next week.
We neighboring homeowners do not understand the discrepancy between the stated commitment to the environment on your website and the actions of your company in regard to the treatment of our beloved Lake Thicket in West Houston. On one of your webpages Skanska praises itself at least fifteen times as being a "green" company, yet, as the attachments show, your actions have definitely not been "green".

This is especially shocking to me, for I lived and worked in Norway for six years and was president of Conoco Norway for three of those years, and during that period I came to know how deeply Scandinavians respect the environment. I recall discussing this over lunch with Gro Haarlem Brundtland, the Prime Minister of Norway and later the United Nations advocate of sustainable development. I mention this because I note that your website frequently refers to Skanska's commitment to sustainable development.

Please understand that our group is quite serious about the deterioration and probable abandonment of Lake Thicket. We have already publicized the issue on Houston television news, and an article on this subject is scheduled to appear in tomorrow's issue of the Houston Chronicle newspaper. Further action is underway, as I write, involving the United States Corps of Engineers and our elected officials.

We would like not to have these differences with you, for we want our relationship to be one of mutually respectful neighbors. Therefore, I invite you not to oppose us but to join us in our effort to protect this beautiful, natural (not man made) lake, its associated wildlife, and its wetlands by incorporating the lake into the design of your development, as the previous developer did.


Don Johnson, President of the Memorial Thicket Homeowners Association

(Click Letter to Enlarge)

Lake Thicket Current Conditions

Lake Thicket Prior State

Houston Energy Corridor - Thicket Lake and wildlife to be destroyed

From: Melissa Lukens
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2012 3:32 PM
To: Skanska
Cc: (various government officials)
Subject: Houston Energy Corridor - Thicket Lake and wildlife to be destroyed

I am writing about an urgent matter and grassroots efforts involving one of your sites in Houston, TX - 15375 Memorial Drive 77079.    

Concerned neighbors, local residents & former workers who care about the lake and wildlife on this property have been communicating  with local SKANSKA personnel in efforts to preserve this wonderful community feature and amenity.  This lake and ecosystem sustain habitat of valued native wildlife.  However and unfortunately, the efforts and requests have fallen on deaf ears - concerned citizens have been put off and given little information regarding the plans for the lake - and for their plans for the wildlife.    Your personnel say the lake will be filled in.  There have been reports that several ducks have already been killed.  As a result, and as a final resort local media,  local government officials and wildlife rescue agencies are being contacted to get involved.   This lake and wildlife are a valuable part of this community and deserves to be afforded consideration of being saved.  We care about this neighborhood, environment and the wildlife that call it home.  The SKANSKA media rep response to a television news report came off as less than sincere and only exacerbated the belief that SKANSKA has no concern for the surrounding neighbors or the environment.   Perhaps, SKANSKA does not stand behind their website representations to value the environment...the following are pieces of your website - 

1)  Community Outreach - Skanska is dedicated to the idea of serving the communities in which we build.   

2)  The SKANSKA Code of Conduct says a key SKANSKA responsibility is "...our responsibilities toward the communities and environments in which we operate..."    "...we have defined some key foundations for our performance:..   - We respect...and recognize our responsibility to observe those rights that apply to...the communities in which we operate."    AND "We are open-minded in dialogue with those who are affected by our operations.  We respond to inquiries from external parties and communicate with affected parties in a timely and effective manner."

3)  A SKANSKA article and claim from the website regarding Environmental Policy touts:


Skanska’s approach to Local Impacts is to focus on things we can directly control and directly influence.  Our Environmental Policy states that we will “….reduce harmful emissions to the air from projects, road vehicles, mobile and stationary equipment and processes” and “…….mitigate the impact of our operations on flora, fauna and related ecosystems..."   In the interest of keeping this short, I will just say that many other website articles also emphasize the goal and value of your company to be a friend to the environment.

4)  Your Case Study and Project profile on the 2005 development of the CSOB Headquarters in the Czech Republic states: Urban Redevelopment:  " on a brownfield site to avoid...destruction of natural environments...Local people were informed about the site development by information boards."   The article goes on under the section titled "Sensitive incorporation into the natural environment - ...Existing trees were preserved and 730 quick growing and local species of tree have been planted on the site and in the nearby forest park..."

To the contrary, on this project, SKANSKA has not provided any development plans or information to the local community as it did in the Czech Republic.    If SKANSKA is so concerned about preserving and replacing trees - why not wildlife?    If SKANSKA is open minded to dialogue - why not work with the community to preserve the wildlife and cooperate in relocation if that is the only option?   To date, SKANSKA appears to only be interested in progressing with destruction in the name of construction - now hastily attempting to remove the wildlife on it's own to an undisclosed location - not being a good neighbor and considering preservation of the lake and it's longtime animal inhabitants.   Your representatives as recent as yesterday refused to agree to relocation to homes which have been arranged for these animals; one SKANSKA rep refused to divulge where the animals will be "relocated" to.  We believe the intent is to do away with these animals and the lake - quite contrary to SKANSKA being "dedicated" to the communities -  this is not a friendly response or an environmentally responsible stance at all.  I am hopeful this message reaches you all for your immediate consideration and response.  There can't be such an urgent or financial requirement of a company your size - to move forward so quickly with the demolition and re-development of the property, which has sat for years without tenancy in foreclosure.  

I implore you to allow time to consider alternatives to preserve the lake - and as a last resort -to at least allow the wildlife to be rescued and relocated with the assistance of the community in a humane and ethical way.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and any involvement you can afford to this urgent matter.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lake Thicket Press - Fox News at 9, May 24

May 24, 2012

Dear Memorial Thicket Neighbors,

We thought you might be interested to know that we interviewed with FOX News this afternoon and expect Lake Thicket will be on FOX News at 9 PM this evening.  The story should explain to the public why we are concerned about Skanska draining and likely eliminating Lake Thicket. 

Have a good Memorial Day Holiday.

Next Door Committee

Phil Richardson, Chairman;
Geralyn Cornelius;
Simon Kanaan;