Dock will move to Langley

LANGLEY — Port Commissioner Rolf Seitle breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday after the Langley City Council gave the green light to move the port’s 400-foot breakwater to Langley.

Even though the final approval is pending a signature by Mayor Neil Colburn, the Port of South Whidbey can now make arrangements to tow the float to its new home.

“You have your moorage, sir,” Colburn said after the unanimous vote of approval by council.

“The monster will arrive,” Seitle said.

The dock will be permanently installed in Langley in a year or two as a part of the port’s plans to remodel the Langley marina.

When the port commissioners had the chance to purchase the float from Bremerton for $350,000, they jumped on the deal. It was later disconnected and towed to Port Orchard for short-term storage by Boyer Logistics. But the company said it needed its moorage space and the port was left to find a new and affordable place to put the dock.

The commissioners decided on Langley after briefly considering Holmes Harbor as a temporary destination.

Langley officials had concerns, however, and the port was unsure if it would get the OK to move the breakwater to the city marina.

The port submitted a document to the city last week that releases Langley from legal liability in case the breakwater causes any damage to existing structures or gets carried away in a storm.

Before the mayor gives his final OK, city leaders want to hear from city attorney Dale Roundy and the city’s insurer, the Association of Washington Cities, to see if the document will be adequate.

City Administrator Walt Blackford said the review could be done within the week.

Prior to the vote, Seitle had, once again, stressed the urgency for a decision. Port commissioners have tried to convince the city for more than a month to sign-off on their plans.

Besides the additional cost for the port for prolonged storage, Seitle also pointed to the approaching winter weather as a driving force.

“If we don’t know what to do soon, we’re running into the season,” he said.

If all goes according to plan, the breakwater will arrive in Langley in the first week of November, Seitle said.

Seitle also updated the city on the port’s plans for the Phil Simon Park and boat ramp project. City and port officials both officially rejected the construction bids that came in far over budget.

City council members said they were heartbroken over the decision, but it had to be done because the plans were unrealistic under the existing budget.

Seitle said the port still wants to overhaul the marina, but it will probably be done in three phases beginning with the permanent installment of the breakwater.

In the process, portions of the existing dock would be removed and the creosote-contaminated woodwork will be taken out.

“At that point, we’re probably out of money,” Seitle said.

The port would then go after new grant funding and will also consider having taxpayers chip in, he added.

The port has currently set aside $200,000 for the marina project.

Seitle did not mention a timeline or what the two later construction phases would entail.

Another priority for port officials is moving Phil Simon Park from its current location near the bluff.

“Phil Simon Park has to move and go somewhere else. It needs to go to the seaside,” Seitle said.

Port officials have started working on long-term plans for the waterfront property that they will officially take over in January 2009.

“By the end of the year, we will have a preliminary plan,” Seitle said.

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