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Your Waterfront - Up for grabs

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New Whatcom Redevelopment Project - The City and Port of Bellingham will hold public information a meeting. Bellingham Cruise Terminal. 355 Harris Ave., Bellingham. WA Times: 6:00 PM.

Also, the Port has a new video detailing their vision for the waterfront. It includes a couple whoppers, including the standard “clean-up” lie. Toward the middle, it states, “Right now 14 federal,state, tribal and local stakeholders are working together to clean Bellingham Bay”. Of course, they really mean cover-up, as in literally bury it and call it good.

In a fit of optimistic window-dressing, the video also asks the public to imagine “An industrial waste lagoon transformed into a clean ocean marina”. It is amusing that G-P’s “treatment lagoon” has suddenly become a “waste lagoon”. Sadly, the Port fails to mention that the lagoon is our only future stormwater or wastewater treatment resource and that replacing it will cost the public untold millions. An interesting sideline is that marinas never contribute to a clean ocean, and that this marina is being designed for 50+ foot yachts even though more than ninety percent of local recreational boating events occur in vessels 24 foot or less. That’s serving the public!

It behooves all citizens to bone up on this plan. Information is available from the Port and the project website.

Here’s my vision. It shows how the toxic muck could be removed and a larger marina created while retaining the lagoon’s treatment capacity and linking Downtown into Fairhaven via a continuous public waterfront. However, officials don’t seem to like these ideas.

By Way of Comparison - How the rest of the world works

Bellingham has the good fortune to be among the last dilapidated waterfronts to attempt rehabilitation. In theory, we could benefit from the experience of the last four decades of similar efforts. But somehow, we always need to say, “No”, and reinvent the wheel, spinning it fervently with futile effect. Here are a couple links to tune you into basic principles that have been discovered over the years:

How to Turn a Waterfront Around - Key steps for creating great waterfronts.

Mistakes by the Lake, River, or Sea - Common problems that keep waterfronts from living up to their potential.

About Tip Johnson

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jan 11, 2008

Tip Johnson is a longtime citizen interest advocate with a record of public achievement projects for good government and the environment. A lifelong student of government, Tip served two terms [...]