Port, city, ponder necklace of sights

Published on Thu, Apr 18, 2002 by Jack Kintner

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Port, city, ponder necklace of sights

By Jack Kintner

Blaine City Council members and Port of Bellingham commissioners met together Tuesday afternoon at the port’s Blaine office to go over plans for the renovation of the breakwater and public pier at the end of Marine Drive, and Blaine’s plans to attract visitors to the area. In the end, the only questions each had of the other were about the Blaine Airport.

The Port of Bellingham will spend over two million dollars on the breakwater and pier projects. The six month construction project will begin in July and involves replacing the 1,000 creosoted wooden piles at the harbor entrance with 144 galvanized steel pilings and a flexible wave barrier. The pier will also receive new pilings and guard rails, and the current commercial tenant’s space will be fenced only from October through December, nearly doubling the public space on the pier for nine months of the year.

Blaine City Manager Gary Tomsic presented plans for the downtown boardwalk and an area marketing scheme called the Northwest Necklace Trail. “We have a number of attractions in place or planned around Drayton Harbor,” said Tomsic, “like pearls, joined by the coast millennium trail around the harbor like a string that holds them together.”

The route runs from White Rock south around Drayton Harbor on public rights of way and back up to Resort Semiahmoo, returning to White Rock via ferry. Some of the linked attractions include Peace Arch Park, the Peace Portal Boardwalk planned for downtown Blaine and the Northwest Native American Heritage Center at the base of Semiahmoo Spit. Signs defining the route will be installed this spring and summer.

At the end of the meeting port commissioner Scott Walker asked Tomsic about plans for the Blaine airport. Tomsic described plans developed at a work session held with the Blaine Airport Commission the previous evening that will take a thorough look at airport development as an economic asset. Commissioner Ginny Benton pointedly asked if the study will consider the “highest and best uses for that land, or are you looking at it strictly as an airport?”

Tomsic responded that though there are a variety of opinions, “I hope that the study will focus on value, on not only how can we do something but why, and an element of that would be to look at alternative uses.”
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