October 28, 2016 Dena Jensen
Dear Whatcom County Planning Commission and Whatcom County Council:
I am writing today because there has been discussion by both the planning commission and county council about collaborating with stakeholders at Cherry Point regarding the proposal and alternatives for the Cherry Point UGA section of the Land Use Chapter for the 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update. So far, in what I have heard about this collaboration, only the businesses/industries at Cherry Point have been mentioned, especially in terms of outreach from the planning commission or council.
Since there has already been some outreach to some of the stakeholders, I call on you to reach out to all stakeholders for the Cherry Point UGA. Because Cherry Point has been designated as an aquatic reserve, I don’t believe it is fair or wise to only solicit the opinions of industries and businesses located there. I have attached a copy of the list of members of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Workgroup Members as an example of some of the other stakeholders in the Cherry Point Area, there currently may be more, and of course that is not to mention residents living in and around the Cherry Point area. Even though you may not be able to contact residents individually in the time frame you have to consider the Comprehensive Plan amendments, you can, in your meetings and announcements, let the public know you are interested in hearing from individuals who live close to the Cherry Point UGA.
[Here is a link to the list of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Work Group Members:] http://file.dnr.wa.gov/publications/aqr_rsve_cherrypt_workgrp_members.pdf
Besides being a listed member of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Work Group, a Sovereign Native American Nation, and in light of a question by one of the planning commissioners last night at the October 27, 2016 Planning Commission Work Session, asking why Cherry Point is of any particular value to Lummi Nation, I earnestly request that you contact Lummi Nation to find out about their interests and concerns and investment in Cherry Point, or Xwe’chi’eXen as it is known to them.
Also, for easy access, here are copies of Lummi Indian Business Council’s comments from the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan Update Public Comments page listed under the 2015/2016 Comp Plan Comments Tab:
I look forward to hearing of the planning commissioners and county council members contacting more stakeholders and inviting them to come to meetings and offer comments to provide input into your Comprehensive Plan Update process. All stakeholders should feel as valued as industries and businesses in the area. I am sure that you know that tax moneys and wages are not the only contributors to the well-being of Whatcom County and that if we continue to shift our emphasis in employment from jobs that deplete or damage our resources to those that improve and enhance them, we will be a far stronger community in the future than we presently are.
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