To the editor:
A public golf course is not a new idea for South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District. It is and has been a part of their long-term comprehensive plan because they recognize that this form of recreation is inter-generational, as well as one that could expand the golf program at our high school.
Your June 30 editorial sounded accusatory, suggesting that the sewer district was trying to foist off on some other entity the responsibility for maintaining the effluent disposal area.
The original arrangement between golf course and sewer treatment plant was a simple one in which each carried a portion of the burden of expense. Soils here would not perk so septic systems were not an option, therefore property owners were happy to pay for treatment plant operation, and owners of the golf course were content to maintain the irrigation system and drainage in return for receiving cost-free treated water while they served their paying customers.
In trying to re-establish this shared obligation, the Holmes Harbor Sewer District has brokered what could be a sweet deal for some individual or organization: the lease for these acres is $1.00 (one dollar!) per year and comes with free water; all the water any golf operation could possibly use.
Parks has presumably crunched the numbers and come up with a need to ask for tax money. County employees are more costly than those employed by private businesses, so that may be one reason.
The editor cites other forms of recreation that Parks is currently and successfully operating, many of them focused on young people, and all apparently meeting with the editor’s approval but discounts the fact that each of those sports or activities have at any given time an appeal for the “single user group.” And what about those fishermen, birders and hikers who would love to have another interest they could share with their kids and grandkids, as well as house guests and visiting relatives of all kinds?
Yes, a well-operated, comprehensive local golf course does sound like a good all-round investment for the South End of our island.