Birch Bay Steering Committee strives for more public facilities

Published on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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A group of Birch Bay residents have renewed the call for public facilities, including restrooms, in their community by implementing a new working group attached to the Birch Bay Steering Committee.

Steering committee chair Kathy Berg and vice chair Doralee Booth have spearheaded the Waterfront Group, which had its first meeting in November. Most recently, Berg and Booth encouraged Whatcom County Council members and staff at the council’s January 9 meeting to work with the group to help make permanent public facilities in Birch Bay a reality.

Berg said the main goal of the Waterfront Group work is to secure public restrooms for the Birch Bay community somewhere along Birch Bay Drive. Berg said they will also help coordinate what needs to be done to get the Birch Bay berm project off the ground.

The berm project would construct a dedicated pedestrian walkway and bike path running the length of the Birch Bay coastline on the west side of Birch Bay Drive. Berg said public restrooms and the berm project are linked because underground sewer and water lines for the restrooms could be installed while work is being done on the berm.

“[The group] is designed to coordinate everything,” Berg said.

Early reaction from county officials regarding restrooms has been promising, Berg said. She has received word from Whatcom County engineer Joe Rutan that the county’s economic development investment program, which provides loans to private companies for projects that would have a public benefit, could most likely be used to build permanent restrooms.

The group itself, though, is still in its infancy, Berg said. Once more information is gathered and concrete plans are established, the Waterfront Group will reach out to all Birch Bay residents for input on how to proceed.

“We’re just taking baby steps at the beginning here,” Berg said. “We don’t meet unless we have something to meet about.”