By Pat Grubb
The Point Roberts parks board is back at full strength after two new commissioners were appointed at the commission’s regular meeting on January 14. The five-member board was short-staffed after the resignation of Linda Hughes and Sonya Lieu in December.
A total of six candidates had expressed interest in serving on the board but just three of them, Raye Newmen, Holly Robinson and Chwynyn Vaughan, showed up at the meeting to tell the remaining commissioners, Bennett Blaustein, Stephen Falk and Arthur Reber, why they wanted the job. The other three had either dropped out beforehand or simply did not appear.
Following short presentations by each of the candidates, the commission held an executive session. On its return, the board appointed Vaughan. The now four-member board went into executive session to discuss the fifth and last commissioner; following the resumption of regular business, Holly Robinson made the cut. All three hopefuls had earlier been encouraged by Blaustein to remain involved with the parks district even if they weren’t chosen as Blaustein does not intend to run for re-election this year.
As is customary for January board meetings, officers were elected for 2019. Falk will serve as chair while Blaustein will be vice-chair. Reviewing park operations over the last month, Blaustein announced that a grant application made to Whidbey Telecom for fiber optic and business level WiFi service had been approved by the company. The value of the grant is approximately $5,000 annually.
Blaustein also reviewed the role of the parks district during the December wind storm emergency as well as the state of park trails at Baker Field. A large number of trees had fallen in the parking lot and many of them across trails blocking access for users. The board agreed to reallocate funds that had already been approved for tree clearing in the Baker Field area to be used for the main trail between the parking lot and the field. In addition, the board approved new language in the memorandum of agreement between the park board and the marina to better reflect where the kayaks would be located for the park district’s summer kayak program.