By Pat Grubb
Despite attracting a roomful of attendees on July 18, this year’s annual general meeting of the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association was noticeably subdued compared to last year’s, perhaps due to the fact that there was no open bar this go-around. This year’s speaker Whidbey Telecom chief marketing officer Chris McKnight was also less polarizing than the 2017 pick, state senator Doug Ericksen.
McKnight, who hails from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and comes with a hefty resume, has worked for Whidbey Telecom for about a year. He described how the company goes about setting capital plans into place, beginning first with a customer survey and feedback process. His first visit to Point Roberts was on February 18, where he experienced first-hand the mismatch between driving a stick-shift during a surprise 6-inch dump of snow. His take-away from that visit? Businesses and residents wanted faster internet speeds.
As a consequence, the company has already begun rolling out fiber optic cables to provide faster service. The first phase, scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, will see fiber optic cables installed down Tyee Drive and along Gulf Road as far as the new library. The first customer to hook up to the service, the U.S. Port of Entry, was connected in April. Whidbey Telecom has yet to determine where they will go next – one possible extension would be along Benson Road to the school/firehall/health clinic/water district office complex.
In regular business, the association held its annual election of board members. The unexpired term (2018-19) of a regular director position, a vacancy created by the recent death of Wayne Knowles, was filled by Heidi Baxter; three board positions were filled by Robin Nault, incumbents Mark Robbins and Jennifer Urquhart (three-year terms, 2018-2021); and incumbents Dave Ellis, Pat Harper, Pam Sarkissian, and Steve Wolff were elected to serve as alternate directors 2018-2019.
The board meets on the second Wednesday of each month; the next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on August 8 in the community center. The board will elect officers of the association for the coming year at that time.