Planning By Trickery: Standard Operating Procedure For The Waterfront / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk, Wendy Harris

whatcom hawk15 hrs July 19, 2015  Wendy Harris

I guess at this point, I should not be surprised by anything that the city and port do with regard to the waterfront. But it angers me that no one that I know, including myself, knew cement stairs were being built to the G Street Pocket Beach.

How was this possible? Standard city tricks. Hiding projects under names that are misleading, or unlikely to advise the public of the nature of the proposal. Such was the case here. The stairs were approved under a “Shoreline Substantial Development Permit For the ASB Interim Trail.” The ASB trail does not provide water access and it is considered to be interim, or temporary.

asb mapSo who would expect permanent cement stairs to be constructed to a small, rare and high value accretion beach, (a pocket beach) containing priority habitat (forage fish spawning area, eel grass), and protected species, (chinook, steelhead, chum, eagles, seals, herons, otters, and perhaps marbled murrelet and and bull trout) under the ASB trail permit?

Nor was the public ever advised that shoreline access would be provided at this early stage of development.. so early, in fact, that the beach is still contaminated and needs to be cleaned up as part of the Washington Model Toxics Control Act. Plans released by the city, (attached), reflected “future” access. And stupid me, I assumed that this future access would be subject to its own permitting process. Frankly, the specifics of shoreline access had not been discussed, at least to the best of my knowledge, as it was so far in the future. After all, this is a trail that remains fenced off from a big toxic pit that it abuts. waterfront planning process, it likely would not have changed, but at least there would have been an opportunity to speak, and the opportunity to obtain standing to sue.

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