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Turf and Surf

Island Life

I know- it should be Surf and Turf, but on this Island and in this park district it seems that grass will always trump water, until of course we run out- of water that is. I start off this way this time because I endured yet another virtual water torture of a meeting at Ober Park last night. A big part of that pain was inflicted during the ongoing and endless debate over whether the park district should determine what might be wrong with the pool and fix it before the 2016 season comes around  and the opening has to be delayed or cancelled to fix what we didn’t know was broken, or about to be so.    Part of the grand consternation was whether the estimates of the repairs should include the possibility of covering the pool at sometime in the future when the park district wasn’t spending money or directing energies toward any number of projects that served as few people as possible with little or no chance of collecting revenues for it. We’ll get to that later. Having watched this meaningless back and forth I can say that I continue to share Capt. Joe Wubbold’s pain as, meeting after meeting and month after month, Mr. Ameling and crew refused to grant the Pt. Robinson keepers a paltry eight thousand dollars to paint the historic lighthouse roof Coast Guard red. There was no really good reason given for this holdout beyond the claim that they needed every pinched dime to finish the sacred VES fields and unicorn ranch, if one could call that reason good or fair.

Along those lines, it should be mentioned once again that earlier this year, when the end was believed to be in sight for the completion of VES, the Paradise Ridge horse people asked for and were granted within two meetings, ten thousand dollars to break up concrete deemed to be hazardous obstacles for both horse and rider. Back in ancient times when I swatted at flies and hauled buckets of water while my sister cleared obstacles and fences over saddle, the thought of a flat bit of pavement as an object of danger for horse and rider seemed remote at best. And given that there are some 43 acres included at the horse park according to the VPD website, this would say to at least some of us that there is adequate room available there in order to safely avoid these danger spaces. And while it seems that these slabs are indeed documented and known, the six to ten thousand dollars being requested by the Friends of Vashon Pool (and theoretically anyone else who wants to swim there) to do the comprehensive study that would serve to enumerate the potential fail points and guide thought, budgeting, repair and restoration of a well used park facility, all seems like a much better and needed use of funding. The debate raged over the sense of this study, as well as whether or not it would promote and make inevitable the eventual covering of the pool for year round use.  As per usual, a decision on this was left to another time, but not before we got the usual summing up from Mr. Ameling in his stating that the Island didn’t want a rolling-covered pool, they wanted a good pool. It seems that a pool that can be both indoors and out with the potential of responding immediately to changing weather conditions is a good pool, but a feasibility study that would answer those and other questions seems like it should be a first and simple step to help in getting there.

Commissioners one and all could possibly have taken a cue from one of the next agenda items, which was a discussion of the Tramp Harbor Dock. Actually it was more like a cheerleading session led by the executive director, who ran through all the possible grant possibilities that might fund the entire rebuilding of that structure for somewhere around a million and a half dollars, which somewhat mirrored the monetary demands that a pre-feasibility study estimate as to what a pool reconditioning and covering might run. This new dock would serve all those who like to stand over the water while either peering through multiple layers of glass at dwindling populations of waterfowl, or those who like to stand and dangle lines and hooks over the edge of a railing to grab and capture members of various sub-aquatic tribes whose numbers are dwindling. I’m not maligning bird watchers and fisher people, I’m just curious as to where priorities might be coming from prior to the conducting and release of the anticipated study intended to set parks priorities from public opinion. As far as I know, if the Tramp Harbor Dock blew down at Thanksgiving, no parks programs involving squid-jigging or grebe gazing would disappear. On the other hand, if the outbreak of stuck valves that threatened to close the pool early this past summer continues to spread unchecked and unrecognized into next spring, something more than just a few programs might disappear.

I was going to go on about the pair of whining middle-aged white guys who kick balls around and were “pissed off”- their words- because they either did or didn’t want to pay a user fee to drop in for a little soccer. Since they wasted about 20 minutes trying to decided if they were or weren’t okay with paying the fees that everyone else does, I won’t waste anymore of your time with trying to make sense of it. What I will say is that tons more sand and four thousand dollars of grass seed and fertilizer are being added to VES soon to perpetuate the need for perhaps more than the more than two million gallons of water that was used to irrigate up there this year. I say this because one of my neighbors’ wells has been having trouble keeping up with demand recently. Our area here is within a mile of VES. I’m not saying this has anything to do with water use up there, but it just might be a warning  that aquifers in this area are at least suffering from changes in recharge due to longer periods of dry, followed by hard rains that run off rather than soak in. Rather than more sand and water, perhaps we should be looking at ways to add water holding organics to the soil there. When the sand starts coming from the well up at VES instead of from the gravel pit, you could expect to see those “sustainable” gray-water tanker trucks competing for space on the ferry dock while parks scrambles to see what else is feasible.