From a letter to the editor by Bobby Gifford:

In print we recently heard from a member of the Stevens Point Plan Commission regarding the pace of planning for downtown, including the mall. We need to look not at the pace of planning, but at the assumptions of planning and how they square with our new economic reality.

A key component of the mall plan is spending over $2 million on parking spaces. It appears that PDI, the paid consultants we are using in Point, are unaware of the peak oil problem, or ignore it. It seems that most planning in our region is based on the assumption that cheap oil and gas will persist far into the future.

The global peak of oil production is still here. The global economic collapse has not increased global petroleum supply. Instead, crashing petroleum prices are driving supply capacity from the market. The next upswing in crude oil and natural gas prices will be a brake on recovery.

Our recovery from global recession will be very slow. The retail sector as we know it is probably already history.

Our Plan Commission and local sustainability groups need to be on the same page. Local elected officials need to consistently consult with local sustainability activists such as Farmshed, Sustain Central Wisconsin, Eco-municipality committees, UWSP, students, and the Interfaith Council for the Earth and read all available sustainability literature.

Gifford offered these Web sites for research: