Chesterton Tribune



Local Audubon Society opposes beach banquet center

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The Dunes-Calumet Audubon Society (DCAS) has joined a number of other organizations in taking a position against the construction of a 30,000-square foot banquet facility next to the Pavilion and in front of the beach at Indiana Dunes State Park.

In a statement released on Thursday, DCAS President Lynda McGinnis said that the beach “is a terrible place for a big building with huge windows” and refers to language in the original proposal submitted by Pavilion Partners LLC promising “window walls” to exploit the view of the lake and the beach.

“This is a protected natural area,” McGinnis said. “I can’t believe they would do that. It will kill a lot of birds.”

As McGinnis noted, Indiana Dunes State Park is a regional hotspot for migrating birds, a fact much celebrated during the inaugural Indiana Dunes Birding Festival in May, an event co-hosted by Dunes State Park along with Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. “It was so successful that they have announced dates for the next festival in 2016,” she said.

“It is even more important during migration,” McGinnis added. “Millions of birds hug the shoreline during migration and this new building with huge windows will be right in their way.”

Although Pavilion Partners has indicated that it will consider the use of special bird-safe glass in the banquet facility’s design, the LLC has not yet committed to it.

McGinnis concludes by citing Chicago Bird Collision Monitors’ estimate that a billion birds are killed each year in North America as a result of window collisions. “It’s a bad, bad idea to build a building with big windows right where you know that millions of birds will pass,” she said.

The Dunes-Calumet Audubon Society is an affiliate of the National Audubon Society, a conservation organization dedicated to the protection of birds and their habitat.

To date, the Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Hoosier Sierra Club, the Citizens Action Committee, and Save the Dunes have taken formal positions against the construction of the banquet facility, the DNR’s lease with Pavilion Partners, and/or what they consider a lack of transparency in the way the DNR awarded the concession.



Posted 6/5/2015




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