Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Letter to Editors - Woodinville Weekly - Dec. 3, 2012
Bill Stankus - Letter to Editors - Woodinville Weekly - Dec. 3, 2012
With reference to the Woodinville Weekly’s article about the Snohomish County’s Parks Advisory Board approval of the Wellington Hills Park plan, I want to comment on Tom Tiegen’s remarks about those who oppose his park plan.
The first public meeting on the proposed Wellington Hills Park was held on May 8, 2012.
At that meeting, Tom Tiegen told the audience, the park, in the form of a regional sports complex, was a “done deal.”
He then went on to say many of the same things that are in The Woodinville Weekly article concerning other people’s initial resistance and their eventual surrender to a park’s construction.
The Snohomish County Dept. of Parks & Recreation meetings at Brightwater were primarily slide-show and poster board presentations showing the various iterations of proposed master plans.
Audiences were encouraged to write questions on cards and to pass them to someone from the county.
At one meeting, someone had an opportunity to ask about the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) check list, but Tiegen quickly took the microphone away and re-directed the audience to come forward and look at the various drawings that were placed around the room.
As for the mentioned public process — I guess it depends on what “public process” means.
At the first meeting, Tiegen stated he wanted to start construction on the park/sports complex in October 2012.
On that schedule, the tree cutters and bulldozers were to begin their work less than five months after the first public meeting.
The Wellington Hills Park plan is probably the largest sports complex project ever initiated within Snohomish County.
With that in mind, why hasn’t the proposed plan been throughly evaluated in the same manner any other major project is proposed, studied and reviewed?
For example, the Brightwater sewage plant site was rigorously studied, rigorously scrutinized and publicly reviewed by citizen groups, experts and numerous panels.
This is Washington state. There are established and very specific ways of doing things and we typically don’t rush into expensive projects.
Yes, decisions can take time. And yes, studies and reviews are potentially expensive, but, isn’t that the essence of due process and long-term fiscal responsibility?
Shouldn’t we have a thorough review, rather than fast-tracking a major, but non-essential, project into construction?
The consequences of sorting out problems afterwards are not only frustrating and messy, but typically they’re more expensive, and quite possibly no one will be happy.
Bill Stankus, Woodinville