With every gathering of the community, the vision for Eastsound comes more into focus.
More than 80 people crowded into the meeting room at the Eastsound Fire Station on Oct. 26 to have a multi-generational discussion on the future of the village.
“Whatever comes out of this goes to the EPRC (Eastsound Planning Review Committee),” said Jim Jonassen, task leader for the Eastsound Vision Task Group. “It would be great if you are being represented.”
Over the past nine months, community members united with the EPRC to tackle the vision for the future of Eastsound. The task group compiled a 200-page report, entitled “Seeking a Vision for Eastsound: An invitation to engage,” which was submitted to the EPRC for review in May and has been available to the public since June at https://goo.gl/5LCCnu as well as in the Orcas Library. The report provided broad suggestions for what Eastsound should look like in 20 years.
“It is not intended to be a sales job on any of those ideas,” said Jonassen. “If we don’t know what we want the village to be, how do we know what the future will look like?”
The room separated into 11 groups gathered around tables, each with representation by community members over the age of 50 and under it. Gretchen Krampf, who organized the gathering, provided the groups with a single question to be answered.
“What is crucial to you to be included in a vision of Eastsound?” she asked. “It’s just a conversation, but we want to know. It’s important.”
After a period of discussion, a speaker from each table shared results. Sustainable development and maintaining a strong environmental connection were the two most frequently addressed priorities. Accessibility for people with disabilities was also cited as a concern of many islanders.
The conversation will continue as the vision for Eastsound becomes more defined. Though no dates have been set for further discussion, Jonassen hinted at the possibility of at least one more gathering before the end of the year.
County Councilman Rick Hughes, who was also at the meeting, commended the audience for its size, saying that he has not seen such a large gathering at a public meeting before. Jonassen, Krampf and Hughes encouraged everyone to continue attending the workshops so that their voices remain in the discussion.
“My invitation to all of you … keep this conversation going,” said Krampf. “We are the community; we can do what we want to do.”