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Fighting on behalf of her community is the only thing Gabriela “Gigi” Coletta has ever known. Raised by community advocates in East Boston, Councilor Coletta grew up attending civic association meetings, neighborhood events, and even multiple protests against airport runway expansion with her mom, Nina.

Councilor Coletta brought her passion for public service in her role as Chief of Staff to former City Councilor Lydia Edwards. She spent the entirety of her tenure in the neighborhoods of Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End understanding constituents’ concerns to build bridges between differing populations.

Councilor Coletta delivered her maiden speech as the new District 1 City Councilor, while offering an order for a hearing regarding a comprehensive, district-wide planning process for Boston’s waterfront.

“Today, I rise proudly for the first time with excitement, optimism and endless love for this City and its people. I am hopeful for the future we can and will create for future generations with creativity and innovation. While I am incredibly excited for the future of this City, I am keenly aware of the unique challenges ahead,” said Councilor Coletta.

According to her hearing order, “District 1 faces unique challenges as East Boston, Charlestown, and the North End are coastal communities bearing a significant burden of intentional and generational environmental injustices.”

Coastal flooding due to storm surge has increased on a more frequent basis and affects property owners and tenants alike. Severe flooding will result in the displacement of thousands, predominantly those who are low-income and people of color, and renters in basement or first-floor level units within the flood zone.

The hearing order went on to say, “As we prepare for sea-level rise due to climate change, we must prioritize waterfront planning and development that incorporates resilience, equity, and accessibility. According to a report from the First Street Foundation, Suffolk County faces the greatest risk of flooding with more than 45% of our critical infrastructure at risk, including hospitals, police, and fire stations. This is expected to increase by 20% by 2051.”

Councilor Coletta believes that Boston has a significant role to play to protect our waterfront without depending on investments from private entities or developers. Mayor Wu recently launched a municipal harbor planning process specifically for East Boston to create a predictable framework that prioritizes waterfront equity and resiliency, and Councilor Coletta said she looks forward to partnering with the Mayor’s administration on this work.

The hearing order was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development and Transportation for further discussion.

To listen to Councilor Coletta’s maiden speech, click here.

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