Letters to the Editor -- January 22, 2004

Published on Thu, Jan 22, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

Community against it
The Editor:

I would like to clarify for readers the substance of my testimony at the January 8 public hearing regarding the proposed Birch Point rezone/spa/amendment. I cited what I contend are key non-compliances (sic) with the Growth Management Act, the comprehensive plan, and the Birch Bay subarea plan. They include non-compliances (sic) with GMA goals to keep urban growth in areas contiguous with existing urban growth areas. This proposed rezone violates that by taking commercial development from the downtown Birch Bay commercial zone, leapfrogging the residential corridor along Birch Bay Drive and Birch Point Road, and landing commercial development squarely in a residential neighborhood. It is also in non-compliance with the GMA goal of protecting sensitive environments and shoreline areas, which the 10-acre property is, indeed.
I cited what I contend are other non-compliances (sic) with the comprehensive plan about providing predictability to property owners in land-use designations, and the fact that the vast majority of people in this area bought their property for the residential nature and their concerns for what a rezone could potentially open up the neighborhood to. I cited non-compliance with the comprehensive plan�s vision statement of retaining community character, which this rezone would not. And, I cited non-compliance with a subarea plan goal that talks about keeping commercial development at specific nodes along intersections of major roads. The property in question intersects with tiny, remote Semiahmoo Lane and the Strait of Georgia.
Your article doesn�t clearly convey that the vast majority of the community in and around Birch Point is against the proposed Birch Point rezone/spa/amendment. One hundred and twelve and counting residents have signed a petition against it. The majority testifying at the January 8 hearing testified against it. For that reason, in addition to the fact that several commissioners contended that this is an attempt at a spot rezone, the commission voted this down.
Jo Slivinski
Neighbors for Birch Point
Bellingham

Response to letter
The Editor:

Recently, while visiting a friend in Bellingham I glanced through the November 13-19, 2003 issue of The Northern Light, and found it quite interesting. I also noted it is printed in B.C. We appreciate the business!
However, one letter to the editor disturbed me enough to send this correspondence. I refer to �Spread the word� by Kay Schuhmacher of Birch Bay. Had she done any research before condemning the citizens of Victoria as uncaring, she would have found something quite the opposite to what she states. Victoria does pump its sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it passes through fine screens, which allow nothing larger than the diameter of a cigarette to pass through, before entering the water. The sewer outfalls (two) discharge vertically some distance from shore, at a water depth of approximately 200 feet. More water passes over the outfalls every second than goes over Niagara Falls, the amount of oxygen carried with this volume of water does what no chemical can do. It makes our sewage harmless!
Scientists from several countries, including the U.S., have examined our sewage system and declared it to be, if not the best natural sewage system in the word, one of the best. Even the environmentalists have agreed there is no damage to the environment from our sewage system. There has never been a closure of any beach or fishing area, including shell fish, as a result of our sewage system; those closures are from storm drains, which discharge onto the beaches.
I am also surprised your state departments of fish and wildlife, ecology and natural resources would be so blatant as to state what we are doing is �appalling.� �Appalling� is somewhat the way we feel about the USA not signing the Kyoto Accord to reduce greenhouse gases, or the fact that Washington state is still trying to build a gas fired electrical generating plant near the B.C. border that will every single day it operates put tons of pollutants into the air, most of which will fall in B.C.
I think the citizens of the state of Washington have problems enough in their own backyard that are in dire need of correction, before they start spreading untruths about the city of Victoria. If you really want to look into sewage treatment, you will find that in many cases the chemicals used for treatment cause more harm than what is being treated � ain�t life a mystery!
Don Thompson
Victoria, BC

Don't understand
The Editor:

I really don�t understand how the Whatcom County planning commission could vote down a plan for a spa retreat in Birch Point!
The thinking that a spa retreat would cause a traffic problem and have an environmental impact on the area as opposed to putting multiple housing on the same 10 acres is ludicrous. Also, the comment about having �strangers in the neighborhood� sounds like the spa retreat is being compared to a halfway house in the area. How absurd!
Businesses in the area are always looking for ways to get the north end of Whatcom County noticed and become a stopping point for people coming and going across the border. This spa retreat would have been an opportunity the south end of Whatcom County is already benefitting from with the Chrysalis Inn and Spa.
This decision needs to be reviewed and reevaluated.
Barb Bonsaing
Blaine

Thanks for support
The Editor:

The heart of a town is made up of the hearts of its people.
In the two weeks that have passed since my wife Kay Brentnall died, many of the kind people of Blaine have come forward to comfort us, to bring us food, provide shelter, to produce a celebration of her life last Saturday that was outstanding, and there to mourn with us her passing.
On behalf of Kay�s sons Shawn Lynch and Patrick Lynch and their families, and on behalf of my three daughters Dianne, Teri and Natalie and their families, and myself, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support in a most difficult time.
Kay�s love for this place and for the people who live here has been reciprocated by all of you. Bless you.
Brent Brentnall
Blaine

Duck, or call 911
The Editor:

It�s 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning and pitch black outside as I write this note in response to the letter in the January 8 -14 The Northern Light, entitled �It�s Not �Duck� Season.�
This individual brings up some very valid points in his letter that I feel should be touched on a little more. I read in his letter words such as poacher, waterfowl thief, pointing weapons, reckless endangerment and trespassing.
My question is, why not a call to 911? Those are very serious infractions and should be immediately reported to authorities in hopes these criminals can be taken off our streets or fields, especially if they are shooting geese in the dark. That is just flat out appalling and illegal!
It is a good thing that you witnessed this from a range of 250 yards or two football fields away, so you had ample time to take cover or �duck� when they were allegedly pointing their �12 gauge weapons� towards you. How does one see all this 250 yards away in the dark?
I would like to add a few points from a consumptive user�s viewpoint.
Many people post various signs on property that it is used for waterfowl hunting purposes. My hunting land is posted in the exact manner you mentioned. It does not make me a trespasser, poacher or waterfowl thief because I am accessing it for hunting purposes. Consumptive users purchase many hundreds of dollars each year in license fees, stamps and permits to comply with local, state and federal requirements.
It�s our responsibility to understand the various requirements set forth to legally partake in this activity. Not doing so would be negligent on our part.
We also promote scientific wildlife conservation and back it up with volunteer efforts along with supporting it financially. We have been doing so for generations and generations. We also enjoy the flavor of geese just as much as we enjoy watching them.
There are many volunteer efforts on-going right now, promoting healthy and diverse wildlife populations and even some that help your �beloved geese.� We look forward to your help in the future!
Brad Otto
Birch Bay

Vote yes for levy
The Editor:

I am writing to encourage parents of children in the Blaine school district to vote yes for the levy on February 3. Let us rally together and all vote yes. Our children will have a brighter future if we do.
Michelle Morales
Blaine

Correction
In last week�s article �Birch Point rezone voted down 7-1,� Jo Slivinski was described as a Canadian resident; however, she lives in Bellingham and is currently building a full-time residence at Birch Point. The names of Barbara Skudlarick and Cathy Seemann were misspelled, and Cindy Reimer�s direct quote should have read �Now, since learning of this proposed amendment/rezone, like so many of our neighbors, we have to seriously question what kind of a neighborhood this will be for ourselves, our children, and their eventual families.� The Northern Light regrets the errors.

Letters Policy
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

Please send your letter to:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.
E-mail:editor@thenorthernlight.com

Letters Policy

The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

Please email letters to letters@thenorthernlight.com