The Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Commission will meet on Thursday, May 15 to make a final decision on which of two Birch Bay properties would be better suited for a beachside park.
Two properties, a 4-acre plot just north of the Birch Bay visitor’s center and an 11-acre southern property in the 7600 block of Birch Bay Drive, are in contention as the site of the future park. In March, county executive Jack Louws was granted $9,000 to assess the potential properties, but the official assessment can’t go on until the property has been chosen.
The decision has proven to be tougher than expected, as each property has notable advantages and disadvantages and community members have made persuasive arguments for both sides. The decision was tabled at last month’s meeting, giving the commissioners a chance to assess the properties for themselves and give Louws a more informed recommendation.
The northern property, owned by the Vogt family, is listed for $3.75 million, while the southern property is listed for $3.5 million. The properties are about 1 mile apart from each other on Birch Bay Drive. Both would need to have restrooms and parking installed, but while the northern property would be ready to develop quickly, the southern property would need extra permitting so a bridge could be built over Terrell Creek, a salmon restoration habitat.
Still, some locals contend that the southern park would provide more value overall, as it is nearly three times bigger than the northern property.
The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 15 at the Tennant Lake Park Interpretive Center at Hovander Park in Ferndale, and will be open to public comment.