Today’s headlines tell the story of two businesses.
The first is the story about Costco, a darling of many and deservedly so, as they have found a way to stay in Whatcom County within the city limits of Bellingham. Mayor Linville moved heaven and earth to find a work around that would allow Costco to stay in Bellingham. Today’s news shows that this venture looks to be paying off as the plans to move Costco from its current location in Cordata Place over to the W. Bakerview near the Northwest Avenue intersection. It seems like yesterday that the Bellingham City Council placed a moratorium on business sizes in the city limits of Bellingham because Wal-Mart was seeking a permit (AB17301 1. CB 13274 A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING LAND USE REGULATIONS FOR LARGE RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS) to grow their location into a Super Store. The repercussions of the Bellingham City Council’s decision was that Costco sought an exemption from this decision, or they would be forced to move their store (which was already in the midst of planning for expansion) outside the Bellingham city limits. Long story short, Bellingham elected a new Mayor and everything worked out for Costco. Nice for Costco. Not so nice for Wal-Mart. Equal treatment under the law anyone?
The second story is about the proposed rail-line expansions that had been approved for Hoquiam and Grays Harbor. The Quinault Indian Nation, the Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and other groups appealed the Westway and Imperium rail-line expansion permits to the Shoreline Hearings Board. The Quinault Indian Nation, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and other groups were represented by the law firm Earthjustice. The permits had been approved, but because of pressure placed upon the Shoreline Hearings Board by extreme groups who have an agenda against fossil energy, hundreds of jobs and multi-millions of dollars will be lost and/or wasted to place this project into the same environmental scoping mandate that has brought by the Washington State Department of Ecology for the Gateway Pacific Terminal project at Cherry Point. If anyone believes that this complaint is about the train traffic, think again. This complaint was placed because these groups will do anything within their power to prevent the fossil fuel industry from expansion in Washington State.
What is the moral of this story? Well if you have the right leadership and that leadership promotes policies of jobs and business growth, it can happen. If the leadership of our community believes in only one type of industry, desires to limit growth, or NO-Growth, then that will happen. Doubt these words? Listen to this audio clip from a September 26th, Whatcom County Planning Commission meeting. Ms. Brakke can be heard as she speaks to the Planning Commission, who heard comments from the public regarding their thoughts on the updating of the 2016 Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan Update. One public commenter, Laura Leigh Brakke, a member of Futurewise, shared her vision for Whatcom County. Brakke Comment
Is this the Whatcom County you want for your self and your children? Save the farmland. Save the water. Save the earth. For whom? How do we feed ourselves let alone the world with attitudes like this?
~ Kris Halterman
Brakke comment direct play: