Letters to the Editor: May 2018

The Editor:

I am writing in response to the outpouring of love and charity that was shown to me by this entire community. Not just the people here in Point Roberts but Tsawwassen, Surrey, White Rock, Vancouver and beyond.

Organizers Dani Magnusson, Marcia Beech, and Tami Pondelick along with people like Denise Richards knocking on doors for prize donations, put in a lot of hours to make this benefit happen. Dani, I remember when you came to me in January, just before my treatment started, asking if you could do a fundraiser for me. I reluctantly said yes, swallowing my pride, afraid of future medical bills. I certainly didn’t imagine anything near this. I am so grateful.

On Saturday, April 7, the Breakwater’s Bar & Grill held a fundraising burger and beer dinner. Whitney McElroy, Melissa and Martha Bray along with staff and volunteers threw a big party. Point Roberts Marina contributed the upstairs space for the live and silent auctions and raffle drawings. The marina also donated a raffle drawing prize of a year’s moorage.

Some of the many raffle prizes included: A 65-inch television by Westwind Marine’s owners Mark and Tami Pondelick, a bicycle by Pedal Pushers Bike Rentals owners Patti and Scott Hacker, a Bud Light fridge by Dani Magnusson and a handmade treasure chest by Ernie Beech. There were dozens of other companies and individuals who donated gifts to the auctions or “get well” cards with money. To these folks, I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Outside of this dinner there were other wonderful acts of charity: Whitney McElroy set up a GoFundMe account; Greg and Ailish Wallace started the Flush Cancer Toilet; Sophia and Aine Wallace made cupcakes and sold them at the benefit and, along with their neighborhood friends, raised money with a lemonade stand; Miniature Art Show at Auntie Pam’s Country Store and the Food Bank.

All of these hard working people took their time and money to give to a person in need. It is so overwhelming that it is beyond words. To all my friends, cousins, friends of friends, some of you I haven’t even met yet, your contributions and kind words to my GoFundMe page is beyond anything I could imagine, thank you.

Another act of kindness and selflessness that I would like to acknowledge and thank is Karen Boyd, my girlfriend, who also plays the role of chauffeur and caregiver. She has helped with the many trips to Bellingham in the driving rain, with her sciatica going all the way to the pedal.

She has been there through the six weeks of treatment, five nights a week in a hotel room with very little sleep. I can’t comprehend what it would have been like if she hadn’t been there, and even now in the recovery stage. Thank you.

For me to say how thankful, grateful and appreciative I am seems inadequate; however, the humility and profound change this has created within me makes me want to pay it forward and give back to this fabulous community. This will be my ambition as I live here in this great little town. God bless you all!

Bradley Everett

Point Roberts

The Editor:

When moving to Point Roberts I was pleased to see the charming infrastructure – a community center, church, school, medical clinic, fire department, library – amazing for such a small community.

But like so many, I too am guilty of sitting by, not getting involved, and letting others make the decisions and changes. It now appears we will be losing possibly the best amenity in our community by what appears to be “certifiable wing-nuts” attempting to sabotage our health clinic. (We may not need it now, but how comforting to know that competent care is available for ourselves, visitors, workers etc. when we do.)

The grace, restraint and professionalism that the Unity Care representatives, hospital board and clinic staff have exhibited in the barrage of nasty, inappropriate communications, misinformation and attempts to bully is to be commended. We are Washington, but not that Washington, surely!

I would not blame Unity Care for dissolving its contract with Point Roberts and I doubt any other health care provider would allow their professionals to be subjected to such a toxic situation.

We are about to lose one of the greatest assets to our lifestyle here, and shame on me, shame on us! It is now time to get off our complacent couches, come out of our insular nooks and crannies that is so Point Roberts and get involved in an attempt to save our clinic.

May I suggest that we contact Unity Care NW directly at 360/676-6177 (option 3) or 877/235-6850 for toll free. To contact via internet, head to unitycarenw.org then to “contact us” to express our support and concerns.

Bev Richmond

Point Roberts

The Editor:

I have been enjoying my summers in Point Roberts for several years and have met many wonderful and interesting people, but the person who stands out the most for me is Carol Fuegi.

With PAWS, I have seen firsthand her tireless work and devotion to animals in need and I know that countless times she has been the only person standing between many of them and certain tragedy. I have never heard her say no to any situation where the well-being of any animal was an issue.

Saving kittens, feeding feral cats, re-homing, seeing to medical care and supporting pet owners in difficult circumstances are just a few of her accomplishments that I am aware of. I hope that the good work of PAWS can continue without her at the helm.

We should all thank Carol for her unrelenting kindness. I am honored to have called her a friend and wish her the very best.

Judy Milne

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Like most seasonal Point Roberts residents, I am irritated at the prospect of paying additional taxes for services which I only use part of the year. I think all residents of the Point often feel we are underserved for the taxes we already pay. However, I understand that waste management on the Point is a unique situation and I will accept that the current operator is losing money. This is obviously not sustainable.

As a general rule, utility services are best provided by a public authority rather than a for-profit business but in Point Roberts the latter seems to make some sense.

However, when a public body operates a utility, financial statements are available for scrutiny by the taxpayers. I trust that the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee has received such detailed operating cost information from the operator/contractor to support the proposed rates. I get a hollow feeling when I am being asked to pay additional taxes without objective evidential support.

(Ed. Note: Solid waste hauling rates are governed by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The WUTC analyzes and approves rate requests based upon costs and a reasonable rate of return. PRCAC has no role in setting or approving rates; the figures being quoted are currently approved rates for specified service levels.)

Also, the conversation is all about how unique the Point is with respect to seasonal residency. Why then is the service plan “flat lined” across the entire year (the service proposed “shall be every other week”)? Why it is not skewed to reflect a reduction in winter service and a higher level of summer service for those who are seasonal (approximately 80 percent of residents)? Would it not make sense to have an option for seasonal residents to forego winter service in favor of increased summer service for the same basic fee? (26 annual pickups but concentrated in summer months)? In other words, cut the suit to fit the cloth. This would still allow permanent residents and off season weekenders to elect to have yearlong service as needed.

In summary, I think there should be two considerations added to the conversation:

Assurance to the taxpayers that an independent review of budgeted waste management operations has been completed which supports the proposed rates and a service plan which reflects the significant seasonal residency of Point Roberts.

I encourage the decision makers to revisit this proposed policy and present a creative program which more closely reflects the “uniqueness” of Point Roberts.

Don Rathborne

Point Roberts/Surrey

The Editor:

I have received the county letter outlining the suggestion to repair the broken garbage collection model.

Sadly, penalizing almost 2000 additional homes with a mandatory pick up fee seems to only benefit Cando Recycling and Disposal and the county. Giving the majority of owners no vote on financing this business is wrong and unethical. They want the public to fund a business makeover because Cando can’t make money.

Most of the seasonal owners are Canadians who are fairly adept at recycling and minimizing their garbage impact already. We’ve been practicing a lot!

The WCC 8.11.030(C)(D) are long standing items that are now under pressure with the need to save Cando from imminent failure.

But how can the county in good conscience make such a decision that impacts 100 percent of the ownership with only about 13.75 percent of known community approval?

Is there another way? A mailer to all the owners registered residences? Try to get a democratic approval rate, by a vote!

We pay pretty high tax rates each year and when I asked the county why the huge disparities in tax amounts on the Point they had no real answer.

On the Point there are varying tax rates that don’t make sense, large property small tax hit and vice versa, but so be it. We all pay extra for water, to maintain our septic fields, for garbage etc. We get no return on our property tax dollars. More than half the amounts are school related. Important, but of zero benefit to me.

The point being that there is a strong possibility that my tax bill will go up another 15.5 percent for something I don’t want or need. We are a very waste-conscious couple that recycles nearly 100 percent.

If this tax goes through, how does it get budgeted?

If the county collects $200 each year from 2,300 properties, that equals $460,000 per year. How do they plan to distribute these funds to Cando?

Cando (can do) all this without presenting a budget as to how the funds will be spent? A conventional garbage truck can cost $250,000 new. Software techs, workers, benefits, insurance, the costs go on.

Maybe a modified user pay system with a number of mandatory summer fees only? If I had to pay $20 month for four months, I’d find that fair.

Walt Vanderrijst

Point Roberts

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