By Meg Olson
After several months of discussion, the park board has decided not to let the food bank use the community center for food storage.
“I don’t believe the food bank falls within the social and recreational activities the park district is currently mandated to support,” said Bennett Blaustein at the board’s regular meeting on August 13. “The food bank is beneficial to a segment of this community but I do not believe the park department should support the program by giving up any of the limited and valuable recreational space we have in the community center.”
With the library moving to the renovated Julius fire hall, both the historical society and the food bank approached the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District asking for space. The district is currently working on a memorandum of agreement that would allow the historical society to turn the former library into a museum and archive while still allowing its use for public meetings.
Food bank director Henry Rosenthal had asked that the back meeting room be made available for food storage, with a refrigerator and freezer, to help consolidate food bank operations at their distribution location, the community center.
At the June and July park district meetings the park board was split with Linda Hughes and Blaustein in opposition, Stephen Falk and Arthur Reber in favor and Sonya Liu absent. With Liu again absent at the August meeting, Reber decided in opposition and with three opposed, the food bank proposal failed.
Rosenthal said they would continue to work on possibilities for a single centralized location for food bank operations. Currently the Point Roberts Marketplace and the Shell Center provide cold storage and food is also stored in containers on Gulf Road and adjacent to the Benson Road fire station.
The fire district would support the food bank’s construction of a metal building behind the station but Rosenthal said the estimated $35,000 cost and the location made that a backup option.
“We will keep looking for a central option,” he said.