A few days ago there was a meeting for the community to express their now and then vision for our rural community. Unfortunately, this was done without the guidance of the facilitator addressing the key to all our visions — the impact of people and machines growth.
Reasonable growth and the attention to the creation of jobs for people so that they can purchase housing and continue to live here is important. However, for the resident that lives or comes here with the expectation of experiencing our unique rural environment, it is really an insult when we hear of the modest increases in growth that we are told will occur. If that growth is not harmful to the resources and environment, or our quality of life, then why not define these growth limits in the planning/vision process that residents are willing to accept?
Orcas has limited roadways! Is it unrealistic to say that when we continually experience groups of dozens even hundreds of cars crowding the roadways that measures should not be taken to mitigate those intrusions that we all experience, especially during the tourist season? So what do the planners propose are those limits — they don’t.
Again, our aquifer is not limitless and even now people in the county are suffering from saltwater intrusion. Wouldn’t it be wise for planning to implement controls that will not harm that aquifer used by existing property owners? Presently there are none and perhaps only when those aquifers are exhausted or degraded will the planners take notice.
Vision planning is unrealistic without accompanying growth measures to assure that a vision or visions agreed upon can be met. Remember the frog in the pot of water that has been put on the stove. Comfortable for awhile while the water warms but as the heat increases it is too late for him to realize his eventual demise. Planned and measured growth, when compared to the quality of life that we want is necessary. Unfettered growth that occurs because of people’s ability to buy their perceived lifestyle defies our rural vision. There are limits and unless people speak out to our politicians and ask for a scale that defines reasonable or harmful growth, we will generally get the latter.