Council approves trail improvement plan 5-0
By Tara Nelson
Blaine residents can anticipate improvements to trails, bikeways, and open spaces such as parks and shoreline access areas throughout the community after the city approved a comprehensive plan amendment last week.
In their regular meeting Monday, February 9, Blaine City Council unanimously approved the plan, which will link together neighborhoods, parks, schools, commercial centers and points of natural, scenic, cultural or historic interest with neighborhood “backbone” trails and tourism trails that are intended to function as a regional draw and bring people into the heart of Blaine.
City planners say it will also help link the city of Blaine to the community of Birch Bay and across the border to White Rock, B.C.
Dennis Olason, a Blaine resident who was recently appointed to fill a two-year term on the city’s planning commission, was the only audience member to speak regarding the amendment. Olason said he favored the plan but had concerns about wetland mitigation.
Terry Johnston, a spokesperson for the Northwest Parks and Recreation District 2, which encompasses the greater Blaine and Birch Bay urban growth area, said during a prior public hearing that he liked the plan and that its goals would complement the mission of the district to create better connectivity.
He said the plan could add to the quality of life and ultimately the area’s economic viability as businesses would be more likely to locate here.
“This is an idea of what can be done between now and 20 years from now to make this community more liveable,” Johnston said.
Funding for improvements will be collected from a number of different sources. Those include park impact fees, traffic impact fees, developer contributions, grants and donations. City planners say the implementation of the plan should not have a direct financial impact on the city’s budget.
The complete trails plan can be viewed at www.cityofblaine.com.