Birch Bay chamber seeking volunteers for berm task force

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The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications from Birch Bay residents who want to volunteer on the Berm Task Force.

The task force will provide recommendations to Whatcom County Council on what recreational activities should be allowed on the berm path.

Because the mostly limestone gravel path was designed by Whatcom County Public Works as an interurban trail, county code must be established to distinguish what types of vehicles can use the path.

Bicycles were the main concern brought up in a March 25 “Coffee with the Contractor” meeting. Public works’ Roland Middleton said in the meeting he had heard from over 30 residents who were split on the issue, with those wishing to ban bikes from the path taking a small majority. He said while bikes could be a disturbance to pedestrians on the path, many residents also don’t want their grandchildren riding in the road.

Other non-motorized and motorized transportation, such as electric bikes, scooters and skateboards, were brought up in question.

The task force would consider the pros and cons of each with advice and assistance from the Whatcom County Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Whatcom County Public Works, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and Whatcom County Council before making it county code.

As it stands now, the path will be treated as a sidewalk until county code is written, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputy Derek Jones said in the March 25 meeting. This means all non-motorized vehicles are allowed to use the path, with the exception of motorized wheelchairs that are allowed on the path.

Any county code the task force wants to implement will have to be approved by council similarly to the golf cart ordinance in 2019, which required an 18-month interim ordinance before approval.

Danielle Gaughen, Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the task force will host public meetings for other community members to voice their opinions, and Middleton will help them draft an application for council.

The task force will include chamber vice president Dave Brewin, chamber secretary Doralee Booth, Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2 director Ted Morris, deputy Jones and three other community members.

To apply, visit bit.ly/3tkdVTc.

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