It disturbs me that a good neighbor in Kitsap County has been falsely accused of bad faith. I bristle at false accusations.
Pope Resources, through its real estate arm, Olympic Property Group, has demonstrated good citizenship and good faith in already cleaning up part of Gamble Bay. OPG is continuing to participate in the cleanup and expense.
Nobody wants creosoted piles to remain in Gamble Bay or any other part of Puget Sound. Regulatory agencies, understanding the enormity of replacing entire piers and docks at one time, regularly grant permits to ports for one-by-one replacement of creosoted piles. Isn’t OPG’s request simply a plan to phase-in replacement?
Suggestions that OPG intends to leave creosoted piles or contaminated debris in Gamble Bay are simply unfounded. They have only asked for flexibility on the timing of the removal of these decades-old pilings. The suggestion in a letter to the Herald by North Kitsap 99% (page A4-5, March 1 edition) that “no property should be sold, no trees cut, no permits granted and no proposals accepted until the cleanup is completed” won’t support progress. I fear that such a position would endanger acquisition of the OPG land for public use being pursued by the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project.
As stated in OPG’s presentations to the public, their intent is to clean the bay and to maintain and develop Port Gamble as the treasure it is. A mid-19th century village is rare in this part of the country. Who can deny the value of preserving that kind of history here as an attraction to be proud of? OPG should be allowed some development to make the village economically viable.
The commitments and investments already made by Pope Resources and OPG are a demonstration of their good faith. Let’s give them a fair chance to continue with the cleanup of Gamble Bay, with land for public use, and for preservation and development of Port Gamble.
Negotiations are still proceeding between OPG and DOE. I sincerely hope that common sense and trust will allow a solution that will allow cleanup and land acquisitions to proceed.