Ashley Liewer: Our canyons belong to all of us and need to be protected

County Council members who voted against resolution opposing the gondola didn’t do their homework.

(Jordan Miller | The Salt Lake Tribune) An anti-gondola banner displayed by protestors at the Little Cottonwood Canyon Park and Ride on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

Last week, our County Council had before them a resolution that opposed the proposed gondola construction in Little Cottonwood Canyon and encouraged a common-sense approach.

This does not mean that they can stop the gondola’s construction. Rather, it is simply a statement of whether or not they are for or against its construction. Aimee Winder-Newton, your council person, voted against the resolution. You have the chance to let her know your displeasure with this vote when ballots go out.

Unfortunately, three of our other council members voted against this resolution, as well. Like many of us, I am disappointed.

Those who voted against it did so because they felt it did not contain enough data or because they still had questions. Excuses like this are a pathetic justification for negligence. The council heard from UDOT prior to this resolution coming before them. They had received and had an opportunity to review the environmental impact statement and all the data provided from the various studies conducted thus far. They also had the time to do their own research and ask questions prior to the hearing.

Even so, some of them were still asking questions today because they had not taken the time to do the research to understand the gondola proposal and its impacts. Even after hearing from a multitude of constituents across the county, four members still chose to vote against the resolution.

As a candidate for the Salt Lake County Council, I want to make it clear: I oppose the gondola’s construction. Not only is it detrimental to our environment, but it also is not equitable. To me, equity in recreation means that all citizens of the county have the opportunity to access recreational opportunities. The current proposal for the gondola is a threat to our watershed and environment. This impacts the equity for individuals in our county to access clean and safe drinking water and access recreational opportunities that allow them to experience what our canyons have to offer.

Our canyons should not be for the well-off or a profit-making commodity for a couple of ski resorts. They belong to all of us and need to be protected.

We need leaders who understand what equity means and stand with the constituents they represent. We need leaders who do their research and take the time to understand the issues they are being asked to address. We need leaders who will represent the constituents they are elected to serve and not their own personal, partisan interests.

We need to elect common-sense leaders this November who pledge to roll up their sleeves and get things done. When I am your county council member, I pledge to do just that.

(Ashley Liewer) Salt Lake County Council District 3 candidate Ashley Liewer

Ashley Liewer, Murray, is a paramedic, health care consultant and Democratic candidate for the Salt Lake County Council, District 3.