PRCAC disbands, rethinks waste subcommittee

The PRCAC meeting discussed changes to the subcommittee on June 12.       Photo by Meg Olson

By Meg Olson

The Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) has voted unanimously to disband the solid waste subcommittee on the grounds the sub-committee had gone rogue.

At the June 12 PRCAC meeting, chair Jeff Christopher made a motion to dissolve the special committee on waste management that was formed at the committee’s May 8 meeting and reconstitute it “without prejudice to current members.” The reconstituted committee would mirror PRCAC’s composition, with one member from the taxpayers’ association, one from the voters’ association, one from the chamber of commerce and two at large. It was unanimously approved.

“The only thing more arrogant than the way it’s been handled so far is my own arrogance,” Christopher said, adding that he had “kind of rammed it through” at the May meeting when seven volunteers from the audience were named to the sub-committee. “It’s time to do it the way we should have done it in the first place.”

Several of those who had been appointed to the sub-committee were vocally opposed to proposed changes to the solid waste system, then headed to county council. “I knew when I set up the sub-committee most people (on the committee) wanted to stop it,” Christopher said, referring to code changes that would end exemptions to mandatory garbage collection.

The purpose of the sub-committee had been to look at other elements of solid waste management on the Point, separate from the issue of mandatory curbside collection, Christopher said. At the initial meeting of the sub-committee he said he had clarified “they could not put themselves between PRCAC and county council.”

By signing a petition “asking council to set aside PRCAC’s recommendation in favor of their own,” committee members had “effectively impeached themselves,” Christopher said. Subcommittee members Kimberly Butts and Samantha Scholefield spoke in opposition to PRCAC’s recommendation at the June 5 county council meeting. They and other committee members supported delaying changes to the garbage system until September so alternatives to mandatory curbside pickup could be considered, and signed a petition to that effect, which was presented to council.

Subcommittee member Allison Calder said committee members had acted as individuals at the June 5 county council meeting and not on behalf of the subcommittee. She said she would not seek a position on the reconstituted committee. “I don’t want to be in a committee that has to tow a line and can’t speak up on behalf of the community that it is supposed to represent,” she said.

PRCAC board members have given themselves 60 days to put the new special committee together. At its June 13 meeting, the taxpayers’ association took the first step, appointing Barbara Bradstock, a member of the original sub-committee, to represent them.

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