Submitted by San Juan County.
Last week, San Juan County Council held its first meeting outside of the Friday Harbor council chambers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The three councilmembers, accompanied by County staff, traveled to Waldron Island to hold the July 12 meeting. The last time a council meeting was held on Waldron Island was 2017.
The meeting took place in the Robert M. Johnson Memorial Emergency Annex – an open-air shelter used by the community for meetings and storing emergency materials. Approximately 25 Waldronites attended the meeting and seven County employees including Sheriff Ron Krebs, Environmental Stewardship Director Kendra Smith, and County Manager, Mike Thomas. The meeting’s agenda included a discussion about quarry access to Waldron’s gravel pit, updates about the Deer Harbor parking project, and information about environmental stewardship opportunities and best practices.
“Trips like this are important for Council,” said Councilwoman Cindy Wolf, District 2, which includes Waldron Island. “They remind us how unique the islands are and how important it is to hold direct dialogue with residents that have such specific needs.”
Environmental Stewardship Director Kendra Smith came prepared with stewardship guides, hazardous waste guidelines, and Whale Flags. She noted that Waldron Island receives hazardous waste removal services from the County every few years, and last year, the County removed 10,000 pounds of hazardous waste from the island. She passed out Whale Flags for boaters interested in helping alert other water traffic of whales in the area. She also shared information about the island’s beach ecology and encouraged locals to be mindful of removing sensitive habitat materials from the beach.
After the meeting, County officials and staff spent time talking with island residents and enjoying the home-made refreshments brought by generous attendees. The council will hit the road once again on October 11, 2022 when they hold a meeting on Orcas Island at Eastsound Station 21.