Monday, March 28, 2011

Fear and Loathing on Kidney Island

(with apologies to Hunter S. Thompson)

Mollie writes:

You can tell it's spring on Kidney Island. The daffodils are blooming, the flowering plum trees are all pinked out, and, on the South End, a gentle mist is rising from Honeymoon Bay in Holmes Harbor.

Sounds peaceful, non? Not at all. Remember that daffodils and flowering plums are non-native plants in our neck of nature, and that peaceful mist rising from the harbor might be, well, just anything.

Here on the island, we have a tribe of born-again eco-warriors. Made up of developers, contractors, real estate agents and large businesses, there's a move going on the island to spend $40,000.000 to "rescue" Holmes Harbor. This 'grass' roots coalition is planning for huge population growth and wants to be sure that when the masses arrive to buy their quarter-acre in Eden, that the development fees are pre-paid by the current residents.

Not being terribly stupid, these people have seized control of the mantra "Save Holmes Harbor" and introduced a plan that will, IMHO, do more to condemn our environment than to save it. We are a small community established on marshland. But that doesn't stop our intrepid eco-warriors from progress. Developing this area with housing starts piled upon housing starts, industry, and all sorts of infrastructure is just the ticket for our ecosystem . . . NOT!

Not that these eco-warriors have done any sort of Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study. To the refrain "we all know that Holmes Harbor is the most polluted water in Puget Sound" their charge to build more residences in the Harbor area is a flight of bizarre thinking that defies science.

But, who needs science when rhetoric is faster and cheaper?

Those of us who are the minions of unwashed eco-rapists don't know what we're talking about. Who needs DNA testing on fecal coliform to determine if the source is human, avian, reptilian, mammalian or any other life form. These birds, fish, sea otters, and household pets have no business living here, pooping in our water. Their fecal remains, deposited here for millions (billions and billions,Dr. Sagan?) of years are undesirable.

The estimate of $40 million is conservative. And divvied up amongst 419 parcels (ranging from .5 acres to 10+ acres), results in individual land assessments almost into the six figures. And remember that many of the residents here are retired folks on fixed incomes. You can see why "Saving Holmes Harbor" is laughable.

And remember that this is for a quasi-sewage system that does not even address solid waste. What about the solid waste, and the rest of our eco-system.

We aren't a bunch of NIMBYS (not in my back yarders). We are a bunch of rational folks who understand the limitations of island living (high voltage power transmission, garbage pick up, recycling, transportation, etc) and we are all pretty sure our neck of nature can't support the population growth wanted so desperately by our eco-warriors.

Those of us who are actually concerned with the environment (read scientists and engineers) are mocked by these eco-warriors as irresponsible polluters. But some of us just don't see where building a metropolis on swamp land on an island is environmentally sound.

If it weren't so sad, it would be hilarious that suddenly developers have discovered environmentalism.

But that's life on Kidney Island.

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