LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Project means economic growth

To the editor:

The Langley Marina project is one that will provide a tremendous economic opportunity to Whidbey Island. Notice I said Whidbey Island – NOT Langley. Citizens must open their eyes and minds.

This project is not solely about boaters, or as some people like to put it – boaters from the mainland. It is about the survival of the community called “Whidbey Island.”

Long ago someone coined the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, “It takes economic growth for a community to survive.”

This project will increase the number of transient moorages, as well as the number of “resident” moorages. Both will provide funds to pay for the marina, as well as provide up to 22 full and part time jobs (according to the port’s plan). Those jobs will put money back into the community. Those employees will likely live in Langley, Clinton, Freeland, Greenbank and perhaps further north.

These employees will put money into the housing market (they need to live somewhere), they will put money into the local economy for groceries, insurance, medical care, etc. All of those expenditures will create additional jobs in local businesses.

For resident moorages, these boaters will provision their boats from local markets, putting money into the local economy – more jobs for the people of Whidbey.

For visitors using transient moorages, they will not only support the jobs in the marina, they will spend money in restaurants, galleries and shops – mostly in Langley. That’s great, because the owners and employees of those businesses will increase their wages and spend money in Langley, Clinton, Freeland, Greenbank and beyond.

Artisans and craftspeople will also benefit. Those folks live not only in Langley but in Clinton, Freeland, Greenbank, etc.

All of those people need housing, food, healthcare, insurance, etc.

The marina is not for the financial benefit of the boaters – it is for the benefit of the residents of Whidbey.

When a community brings in a whole new economic unit, be it military or a new business, traditional economic values say that for every new job brought in it will create two new jobs to support the initial one. We may not achieve that level – but even if we had a one to one ratio that would mean 40 new jobs.

People can defeat this initiative and watch Whidbey shrink into a retirement community that provides jobs in healthcare, cleaning services, etc. That is not a community that will survive in the long term. We need jobs for young people, who grow up here and want to stay here. We need jobs that will provide decent wages for families. That’s what this project is all about – wake up and smell the Whidbey Coffee beans roasting – support our community. Provide hope for families and young people.

Robert Boehm

Greenbank

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