My thoughts this New Year’s eve are centered on my gratefulness to live on this precious land. I have watched and agonized as the land in Eastsound has been torn up for “progress,” i.e. development. We all know why we came here. Does this place look like or “feel” like your dream? Maybe it does outside of town. In town, we have an expanding airport (make room for more jets with the accompanying hearing loss to local residents).
It is amazing to me that in all of the millions spent on “planning,” this fact has been conveniently overlooked as well as the removal of small forests around town. This has increased the wind tunnel effect. Trees slow the wind and help to minimize wind storms. Not that long ago when the Exchange was trying to raise money to re-open, the county received grant money for local projects. That grant was not awarded to the Exchange, which benefits all of the people, but it was awarded to the airport to create showers for visiting pilots who could well afford to rent a room in a hotel.
The Orcas Community Resource Center does a great job in helping islanders. In fact, they have the money to get people “homed” but there are no homes available to rent in Eastsound! One of the biggest problems is that a group of business people formed themselves into an LLC and bought up many of the homes in Eastsound so that they could rent them out to tourists. How this could be legally done is beyond me! The Growth Management Act MANDATES that 56 percent of the island’s population has to live in Eastsound yet this greedy group has taken housing opportunities away from the people, counter to the GMA. It is truly time for our community to take responsibility for our actions and mostly our inactions in the face of the decline of our precious natural world. Be a warrior for the Earth Mother, she is all we have!