A recent letter to The Herald supported the purchase of a four-acre park site on Birch Bay Drive. Most of us recognize the need for such a facility as there is no public beach picnic space at high tide. One public restroom in three miles is not enough. Visitors and residents walk the beach near restaurants and hotels. The need is not only for visitors but among our 8,000 residents as well. The summer population rises to 24,000, evidence of our value as a resort community.
There are two visions of our neighborhood. An oil refinery and the largest coal terminal in North America or a thriving residential, resort and recreation community. Consider the terminal site, which is 1,200 acres between the BP refinery, Lake Terrell and on the strait. As new sounds of oil trains echo on the hillside above CJ's, imagine nine to 12 coal train arrivals and departures daily. Coal will be piled in five uncovered rows, one-half mile long by 60 feet high. Breezes carry coal dust. A covered conveyor carries it to the ships on a continuous cycle. New coal ships are as large as aircraft carriers. Tidal currents flow around the point to Birch Bay. The permit calls for 5.33 million gallons of water daily from the Nooksack. Lots to think about as we study the Gateway Pacific Terminal plans and permits. It raises serious concern for future property values and our quality of life.