hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Couple of Meeting Matters

Last week, at the Community Advisory Committee meeting, the issue of bad or at least undesired behaviors at Maple Beach arose.  The basic problem is that Maple Beach is a County Park and a Public Beach.  It is the responsibility of Bellingham Parks and Recreation NOT Point Roberts Park and Recreation District.  Unfortunately, Maple Beach, as lovely a beach as it is, is lacking in a couple of significant areas: 1.  It has no public parking lot; and 2.  It has no public facilities in the way of bathrooms or water supply of any sort.

The County's reply to the first problem is that there is nowhere to put a parking lot.  There are obvious unused plots of land, but they seem to be under the jurisdiction of the International Border Commission and they don't do parking lots for County Beaches, even if the beaches really need parking.  The County's fallback position is that there is parking on both sides of all the side streets coming off of Bayview (which has no parking) and that should be sufficient for beach visitors.  The problem with this is that the side streets are pretty narrow and the owners of the houses along the sidestreets have, in many cases, obstructed the easement with various items making it not possible to park there.  Dubious, if not actually bad, behavior.

The County's current answer is to inform the owners of the first two houses on each of the side streets that they cannot interfere with the parking easement.  At least that's what I think the County is said to be doing.  We will see how that solves anything.

The second problem, the absence of bathrooms and water supply, is the source of the other problematic behaviors.  According to attendees at the meeting and to several letter writers (all of them residents of Maple Beach), beach visitors are beginning to respond to the absence of facilities by borrowing the lawns and outdoor showers of local residents to make up for the lack of bathrooms and faucets of any sort.  This constitutes a public health problem that the County should really have to respond to.  Whether they will do so remains to be seen.  The CAC will discuss it with various parties at the County level.  It is an unfortunate and unseemly problem that deserves to have a quick solution, if only the importation of portapotties.

The second matter was at the Fire District meeting, also last week.  The Fire Chief reported on the unusually high number of calls to the Fire Dept. in June.  Typically, there are about 6 or so calls total, but June had 18, one of which was someone who called because an eagle had taken up residence on the ground in their backyard.  I'm not sure I would have thought to call the Fire Department about such a problem, but that's what the folks did.  Unfortunately, in their various training activities, none of the 43 volunteer fireman currently on the registers (all of whom are not available at any given time) and on duty at that moment knew much about eagles.  Nevertheless, they made an appearance, but none of their excellent equipment exactly suited the occasion.  The eagle was in "a defensive posture" and was about 2 1/2 feet tall, it was reported.  The Chief postulated that it was a baby eagle that had fallen out of its next.  (Sounds big for a baby eagle?)  Eventually, they got in touch with the OWL people who are based in Delta (http://www.owlcanada.org/) and who have members on the Point who came and took the eagle away (it had an injured talon).  And all ended well, we conclude.

But the moral of this story, however, is that if you have an eagle or any other big bird downed in your back yard, contact OWL---http://www.owlcanada.org/.  The Fire Department is probably not the place to get help for such a matter.

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