Environmentalists question wakeboard park review
MONROE - The city’s decision to allow a wakeboard park at Lake Tye is coming under fire by environmentalists.
Public works director Brad Feilberg is in charge of determining what environmental impacts will need to be studied, if any. Residents say the lake is a sensitive natural habitat for many species, including the bald eagle.
Residents have been publicly voicing their concerns concerning the possible upset of the lake’s ecosystem since the wakeboard park’s proposal was introduced.
H30, the wakeboard park developers, want to begin construction this October and have applied for shoreline, building, grading and special flood hazard area permits.
The park, which may take up to six months to build, is expected to take up 17 acres of the 42-acre lake at the south end and would provide wakeboard enthusiasts the opportunity to be towed by cable wires instead of being pulled by a boat. The project includes erecting six cable towers and a 2,500-square-foot pro shop that would house ticket and retail sales, restrooms, lockers and an office.
Feilberg said he hopes to make a decision soon on the environmental review. A public hearing on the review is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18.
The city’s recent track record on environmental analysis isn’t good. Hearing examiner John Galt recently found another environmental study written by Feilberg on a controversial rezone proposal “profoundly lacking in detailed environmental analysis” and “inadequate as a matter of law.”
If the city publishes an environmental analysis on the wakeboard park that residents see holes in, they could appeal the analysis to the hearing examiner.
The City Council last week voted to fire Galt, whose contract with the city is open-ended.
Wildlife biologist Martha Jordan “caught wind” of the looming decision and decided to look into the environmental checklist Feilberg is basing his decision. The developers of the wakeboard park submitted that paperwork to the city.
Jordan said there were “huge errors in the document.”
Jordan studies trumpeter swans and said several significant plant and animal species were not included in the developer’s checklist, such as bald eagles, which are known to nest near the lake.
Jordan also said a hunt club is located directly next to the site, which creates a “huge draw” for water fowl and should have also been addressed in the checklist, but wasn’t.
A hunt club creates a wildlife habitat for permitted hunters to shoot water fowl over a 90-day period and is carefully maintained during the rest of the year specifically to attract birds to create a “quality hunt,” Jordan said.
“It’s great for the community, and it’s agriculture,” but it’s being ignored in the city’s study, Jordan said, which isn’t right.
In a letter Jordan submitted to the city last week, she noted that avian collisions with power lines along Lake Tye have already been a concern for the Trumpeter Swan Society, and the cable lines of the wakeboard park will only add to the bird danger.
The Pilchuck Audubon Society also submitted a letter last week citing similar environmental concerns.
Residents also have said they worry about the park’s impact on the quiet lake in addition to traffic impacts.
H30, which has been vocal in its desire to peacefully coexist with current lake users and residents, put forth peace offerings in the run-up to approving a final contract with the city to build a park.
The company has promised to fix the bioswale on the site that is not functioning properly, as well as offer residents a discount to use the park.
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