On Sandy anniversary, NYC Council members & de Blasio official spar over preparation for next supers


City Council members and a top de Blasio official sparred Tuesday over whether the Big Apple is prepared for the next Superstorm Sandy, with pols from the outer boroughs accusing the mayor of bogging down preparation efforts in red tape and excuses  “Families are still at risk,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Queens), who chairs the Committee on Environmental Protection “While we do not anticipate a superstorm tomorrow … we must act as soon as possible ” Advertisement  Speaking at a hearing on the seventh anniversary of the devastating hurricane, Jainey Bavishi, director of the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, insisted the administration is ready for the next superstorm  “New York City is definitively safer and better protected than it was during Hurricane Sandy,” she said  “We have done a lot of work citywide to harden critical infrastructure, to increase flood insurance enrollment, to improve social cohesion and to improve emergency evacuation and response times so that citywide, we’re prepared for another disaster,” Bavishi asserted in her testimony  “It sounds great,” shot back Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts “I don’t know that anybody in the outer boroughs really believes it.”  Brannan and Constantinides were pushing for a bill that would require de Blasio to develop “a comprehensive five-borough plan to protect the entire shoreline of New York City ” While light on details, the pols said it would force the administration to focus on sea-level rise and “sunny-day flooding” — which occurs during high tides — in addition to catastrophes caused by climate change  The duo repeatedly suggested the mayor is putting more effort into protecting Lower Manhattan than the outer boroughs, though Bavishi insisted that was not the case  She pointed to efforts that have called on $15 billion in federal cash plus $5 billion in city funding They include the restoration of 5.5 miles of the Rockaway boardwalk, 10 miles of new protective dunes across Staten Island and “ecological restorations” in Queens and Staten Island, according to Bavishi  She also pointed to an ongoing study from the Army Corps of Engineers, which is working on the next round of project proposals  Constantinides sneered at the effort, saying, “Why should we leave resiliency solely up to Donald Trump’s Army Corps of Engineers to get right?”  He explained he was frustrated by years of stonewalling from the de Blasio administration  “Instead of coming here with constructive feedback on how we can improve legislation, there is a consistent sort of rejection of every piece of legislation,” Constantinides fumed Bavishi rebutted his bill, saying, “We are concerned that advancing a city plan in parallel with the federal plan could create confusion, waste taxpayer resources and result in additional proposed projects that have no clear funding source ”  She also said her office has moved beyond the original goals of the Sandy response, when the Bloomberg administration was focused solely on storm surge Mayor de Blasio is seeking to fight threats from increased rainfall to rising sea levels, she said  It was not known when the full Council would vote on the legislation.

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