In a March Planning Commission meeting, residents spoke in favor of building a bike skills park over the old dump site within the Anacortes Community Forest Lands.
Two pertinent questions were posed by the commissioners: What brought this large number of supporters to a meeting where such a park was not an agenda item? What opportunity would there be, in the future, for opponents to submit comments?
The Parks and Recreation director acknowledged he had encouraged the group to attend and let their voices be heard, but it had not been put on an agenda. In response to the second question, no specific plan to broaden the conversation was cited.
Fast forward to the Aug. 5 City Council meeting. Four individuals, having heard construction of such a park might start, offered strong opposition to the location of the park, though not to the park itself.
As the saying goes, “Location is everything.” With increased use will come the risks of increased noise, litter, need for parking, adverse impacts on wildlife, wetlands and buffers and toxicity from disturbance of the landfill during construction.
Videos on the Fidalgo Trail Riders website show examples of existing bike parks, with restrooms, water fountains, seating for spectators and temporary shelters. Are these part of the vision for this park? On that same website, one can see an aerial view of the proposed park. It looks incongruent and seems absolutely counter to the quiet, lovely environment of our ACFL.
Aside from references to the park in the minutes of the ACFL Advisory Board, I could find nothing about it on the city website. Transparency by the city seems to be an issue once again.
More community input is needed, as well as further exploration of sites outside the forest lands.