Whenever one drives into Poulsbo, there are signs at the city limits telling what the population of Poulsbo is. In the past 10 years, the numbers have changed from 6,500-plus to more than 9,000. That’s nearly a 50 percent increase.
Then there are these festivals that bring more than 30,000 people to Poulsbo at least twice a year. During these festivals, the aging infrastructure sees a huge increase in wastewater volume. Vehicle traffic creates gridlock for at least 12 hours. Numerous detours create havoc for the 9,000-plus permanent residents. Oil leaks from the increased vehicle traffic mean that Liberty Bay will absorb a big load of petroleum the next rainstorm.
A high volume of marine boat traffic on Liberty Bay brings a high volume of bilge water from boats being pumped directly into Liberty Bay. Debris from spent fireworks also end up in Liberty Bay.
Carnivals work the festivals and abruptly leave town with the money they’ve taken in once the festival is over.
In my opinion, the 9,000-plus residents of Poulsbo are asked to shoulder the burden of these festivals, whether they participate or not.
If there is any monetary benefit to the city from these festivals, then I think the money should go to cleaning up Liberty Bay. The money should go to making sure long-term solutions to wastewater are in place. Running a street sweeper up and down Front Street doesn’t cover it.
Poulsbo is experiencing accelerated growth. If the mayor and City Council of Poulsbo proceed with a self-adopted mandate to promote tourism, it should not be at the expense of residents.