We live on Watmough Head Road on the Southeast end of Lopez island which, we understand, the County intends to chip seal in late June. Like the great majority of people living down here, we oppose this plan. Much of this area has been preserved through BLM purchases, Land Bank conservation easements and the like. This also is an area in the county to be included in the proposed San Juan County National Conservation Area (NCA) which the San Juan County Council unanimously supports. To pave the road will permanently alter an important feature of this natural area.
We recently spoke with a representative of San Juan County Public Works who told us the reason for paving is “cost saving,” that “it will happen,” that there will be public notices but no public meeting or hearing. We have also learned that this action was not specified in the County Road Plan approved by the County Council last year. We are in receipt of a copy of an email sent by Pete Rose, County Administrator, to Bob Myhr, former County Councilman, which states: “You are correct. It [the paving of Watmough Head Road] should have been listed specifically on the county road plan.” It was not.
We strongly believe there are many more factors in addition to “cost cutting” that should be considered before making this decision, which will irrevocably change the landscape.
We urge concerned citizens of San Juan County to contact the County Council, County Administrator, and Public Works with their input. At the very least there should be some opportunity for those on both sides of the issue to be heard in public.
But contact them quickly as the machines are set to roll.
John and Patsy Sangster