Letters to the Editor

Reject SWAC proposal on San Juan Island solid waste site

In response to Jeff Webster’s guest column in The Journal on Feb. 11 where he advocates moving the solid waste transfer station from Sutton Road to the Beaverton Valley Road site: He also points out that every time a move is proposed, “NIMBY” groups vociferously oppose.

Mr. Webster, representing the Hillview Terrace residents in 2001, presented the County Council with a petition saying they would use every legal means possible to stop the town from placing a public works site on Sutton Road. The opposition to the present move involves an overwhelming majority of the residents of San Juan Island, as noted in the Island Guardian poll.

The secrecy of buying the land makes me wonder if the estimated costs are accurate. We are in dire economic times and can the residents of all the islands afford the costs? Are the costs of road improvements on Beaverton Valley Road and other roads leading into this area calculated? The costs of turning a wetlands into a viable site? The cost in meeting FAA advisories for transfer stations? The Beaverton Valley site is directly below the approach path for airplanes landing in Friday Harbor. The plane landing in the Hudson River due to birds is a recent reminder of what could happen here.

The Sutton site is not a blight on the landscape as it is well hidden with trees, while the Beaverton Valley site has no such barrier.

To say that the present site is inadequate for the long term is not realistic when one considers the fact that other transfer stations serving larger communities are somewhat smaller than the usable portion of the Sutton Road site. I am more concerned about the amount of drinking water the island can support and wonder if we shouldn’t limit growth with this in mind.

The rebuilding of the Sutton Road facility can be done at a fraction of the cost of rebuilding a new facility on Beaverton Valley Road. The council knows that there is no compelling reason for the move and the cost is prohibitive for the county at this time.

Common sense says that the move proposed by SWAC must be rejected.

Nancy Wight
Friday Harbor

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