Funding frozen for historic warf

Published on Thu, Nov 29, 2001 by Christine Callan

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Funding frozen for historic warf

By Christine Callan

Despite a hold on state funding, Drayton Harbor Maritime and Trillium will move forward with plans to renovate the Alaska Packers wharf at Resort Semiahmoo. The project will help to re-establish the Plover to its traditional landing and allow public use to that pier for the first time ever.
Garry Schalliol, Bob Libolt and Richard Sturgill imagine the possibilities for the old building #6. Photo by Christine Callan

Garry Schalliol of the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) joined Richard Sturgill of Drayton Harbor Maritime and Robert Libolt of Trillium on November 27 to review renovation plans for the wharf. “What I’m seeing here today is really important. You have an up and coming non-profit doing a lot of good things,” Schalliol said. After taking the Plover to Semiahmoo, they toured building #6, the commisary, and the surrounding dock. “I wanted to come up and see this project,” Schalliol said. “I wanted to get a sense of who is providing energy and local people who are connected to it.” Schalliol is the director of the outreach services division, which administers the state capital projects fund.

The wharf renovation project is one of 29 that were counting on money from the WSHS states capital project fund. Following the events of September 11, as the wharf project was being finalized, the office of financial management froze funding that would grant $216,000 for the wharf renovation. “They are putting the brakes on state money,” Schalliol said. “It’s an unfortunate circumstance because you have local people who are enthusiastic and the state gets in at a later time and creates a problem instead of helping the projects.”

All of the 29 projects are on hold unless they move forward with their own funding. The OFM is holding budget hearings this Thursday to decide what will happen to the $4,198,000 that makes up state funds administered by the WSHS capitol fund portion of the budget.“We are still going about our business because we are committed to seeing this wharf be successful,” Sturgill said.

The wharf project is receiving money from the Millienium Trail grant and the city of Blaine tourist advisory committee. Trillium Corporation has invested over $100,000 in permitting, design and engineering. “This is the type of thing people who visit the resort will remember,” Libolt said. “We want to preserve charm and renovate the pier without destroying character.”

Sturgill said Drayton Harbor Maritime is continuing to pursue funding. “We are working on a capital campaign involving corporations and individual donations,” he said.

One hope for the restored landing is to capture Drayton Harbor’s Maritime rich history with interpretive displays, signs and photographs. Other ideas for the project include having a program to provide sailboat rentals and moving the Semiahmoo Park Maritime Museum to the pier. “We are very fortunate that we could have a partnership with Trillium,” Sturgill said. He believes that if the state, Trillium, the private sector, individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations continue to work together, saving Blaine heritage will have a positive economic impact.

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