The Port of Bellingham should be commended for its ongoing efforts to bolster the local economy. It is true that our local airport was antiquated and badly in need of upgrading. It is apparent to me, however, that with the decision to expand, the impact of noise swept the interests of those invested in living in a quality, non-urban environment under the table. Many in the community have dismissed this issue as self-centered NIMBY response to growth -- those affected should like it, lump it, or sell out at a loss and move.
The airport is heavy industry and, in today's world, no privately owned heavy industry would be allowed to expand without close oversight of the effluent by-products of its activity. If the economic benefits of increased airport traffic fall to us all, then we all should be willing to set aside a small portion of those benefits to reimburse those who are paying a heavy price for our gain. This could be done by levying a tax on ticket sales or a property tax for those living outside the intense decibel corridor.
The economic model of growth for its own sake is antiquated. Maybe we can be a liitle more thoughtful in how we provide for our personal well-being. Self-imposed restraint can act as a governor on the quality of growth we desire. We all want to prosper but the current situation leaves a scar on our community both economically and psychologically. We can do better.