Newsto Brief

Published on Thu, Jun 17, 2004
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News to Brief

Big grant for boardwalk
Only county council approval stands between the city of Blaine’s boardwalk project and $1.3 million in county rural sales tax funding.
At their June 14 meeting Blaine city council approved an agreement under which the city would receive the funds through the Whatcom County Executive’s Economic Development Initiative (EDI). City manager Gary Tomsic explained that the EDI advisory committee had approved the city’s application for the funds and county council was expected to take action on the matter at their next meeting.
The funding package is made up of a $873,000 low interest loan and a $427,000 grant, and will cover most of the project’s estimated $1.8 million price tag. Tomsic said the approximately $50,000 needed annually to repay the loan would come from city hotel/motel tax revenues. “Additional funds will come from city resources, perhaps grants and local fundraising,” he said.
Construction on the boardwalk is anticipated to begin in late summer, said city community and economic development director Terry Galvin. The 600-foot boardwalk on the harbor side of Peace Portal Drive businesses will include a covered performance space and two viewing shelters.

What to do with the training tower?
North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) commissioners approved two new positions and deliberations continued on the sale of the former mechanical shop building to the city of Lynden when they met Monday night at Fire District Three headquarters in Lynden.
The two positions authorized at the June 14 meeting were both part-time, one to work in the NWFRS office in Lynden and the other with mechanic Todd Hill. The major vacancy, that of eastern division chief remains unfilled, though several candidates have been interviewed.
The latest development in the pending sale of the 12,500 square foot former NWFRS shop to the city of Lynden was the city’s request to move the department’s training tower. A 40-foot high stack of shipping containers modified with interior apparatus and window-like openings, the tower may find a home with the Lynden city fire department, said NWFRS fire director Dave Crossen.
“The question is, where do we put it?” asked central division chief Jim Rutherford, “or do we sell it?” Crossen explained that since Lynden plans to build some training facilities of their own, the NWFRS tower could be given to them at a location they specify. “They’ve said that our staff can still use it,” Crossen said.
Moving the tower will cost the NWFRS about $8,000, Rutherford said, which “is essentially the charge for a crane plus the set-up costs once it gets to whereever it’s going to go. There’s no hurry, they’ve said, but if we keep it, it should be moved.”
In his report, Crossen told the directors that he’ll be attending a fire chiefs’ conference this week in Spokane that will address issues having to do with fire authority legislation pending at the state and national levels as well as with levels of compensation for career fire
fighters.

U.S. born, Canadian parents, get your forms in
If you were born to a Canadian parent outside of Canada between January 1947 and February 14, 1977 you need to get cracking in order to retain your rights to Canadian citizenship if you haven’t already done so. According to Chang & Boos, a Bellingham law firm specializing in immigration issues, a key transitional provision of Canada’s Citizenship Act will expire on August 14, 2004. Applications under these provisions will no longer be accepted after that date.
Those born to Canadian parents who were themselves born outside of Canada need to take steps to keep Canadian citizenship before they turn 28 years of age. This caution applies even to those currently living in Canada.
U.S. citizens taking Canadian citizenship or vice-versa do not risk their original status – both countries recognize dual citizenship.

County positions open
Feeling civic-minded? Feeling like you want to contribute to the county? If so, there’s a number of vacancies on boards and commissions that could use your help and expertise. Here in no particular order is a listing of vacancies on various boards.
Address and Road Name Citizen Appeals Committee, Whatcom County Community Network, Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District Advisory Committee, Open Space Advisory Committee, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Surface Mining Advisory Committee and the Whatcom County Utilities Planning and Advisory Committee.
Terms range in length from two to six years with varying time demands.