"...to protect and preserve the Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park as wildlife habitat for present and future generations."
(KT 2012 Mission Statement)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Good Idea in the Wrong Location

Port Townsend's Port Commission today heard the impassioned pleas of some twenty-five local residents who objected to the Making Waves plans for building an aquatic center in a part of the Kah Tai Nature Park adjacent to the Park & Ride and Henery's Hardware store. Resistance to the plans also came from organizations such as the Kah Tai Alliance and the Audubon Society, and other environmental groups.

Issues raised were the disappearance of open spaces within walking distance from residential areas, disruption of both human and bird habitat, storm water runoff issues, construction problems relating to the soggy ground at this sea-level location, the existence of more suitable locations, the eradication of opportunities for children to spend learning time in a natural environment, and the fact that this choice of location would split up the movement and reduce the momentum towards a pool in a non-controversial location - a goal that none of the speakers objected to.

Indeed, several of the speakers had been supporters of Making Waves before this organization zoomed in on the Kah Tai location and ruled out other options. All opponents of the construction plans agreed that an aquatic center as such would be a great idea - but that putting another large building between the Safeway store, Henery's Hardware, and the McDonald's drive-through was a bad idea.

A principal objection to the construction plans at this location was also voiced by Commissioner John Collins. The construction plans were supported, however, by Commissioners Dave Thompson and Herbert Beck, who stated the truism that the Port was not in the business of administering a park, as if that was the issue. Commissioner Thompson actually openly expressed hostility to the existing wildlife sanctuary, stating his preference for a big lawn-type park, serving as a public-drawing backyard for the aquatic center. Representatives of Making Waves present at the meeting did not distance themselves from Thompson's interpretation of their concept, and in a two to one vote, the Port Commission decided in favor of allowing the Making Waves group to go ahead with a feasibility study for that site.

Action items: show up and be counted! Keep the Kah Tai sanctuary intact! Leave a comment here by clicking on the comment button, send a Thank You to Commissioner Collins or a protest to his two colleagues (click on their names for their e-mail addresses), or send an email to our webmaster to let us know that you want to be involved in actions to keep Kah Tai as it stands.

Keeping Kah Tai in its current configuration will take a good deal of time and effort. We will need all the help we can get.


Anonymous said...

Way to Go!

Anonymous said...

Of course, it is not the right place and for reasons way beyond the question of using land designated for wildlife. Our "Park 'n Ride parking is not up for grabs either. And whether it is government money or donated money we don't want it used in a place where the pool could 'float' at high water!
PS Thanks for your efforts.