County executive pledges portable restrooms for Birch Bay this summer

Published on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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The Birch Bay waterfront will once again be equipped with portable restrooms for the summer thanks to Whatcom County executive Jack Louws.

Louws authorized $2,000 to be spent on portable restrooms along Birch Bay Drive for the upcoming tourist season. Last year, then county executive Pete Kremen authorized an emergency expenditure of $4,000 to provide portable restrooms.

“I know it became an emergency last year, so I’m trying to head that emergency off this year,” Louws said at the April 17 Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce president John Gargett said Louws’ office will give the money directly to the chamber of commerce. Gargett said the $2,000 will allow the chamber to rent at least six portable restrooms, which should be in place by mid-June at the latest.

Following the announcement, Louws challenged the community to “take control of their own economic destiny” when it comes to permanent restrooms.

He suggested Whatcom County could possibly find the money to build permanent bathrooms but would most likely have to rely on community-sourced funds to maintain them.

“Our general fund is stretched, and it’s going to be stretched even more over the next three to five years,” Louws said. “Having parks department people come out to clean restrooms will be difficult to do.”

In response to this, Gargett said the community is willing to take up Louws’ challenge. Gargett said the county as a whole benefits from the tourist dollars Birch Bay brings in during the spring and summer season.

“We will meet his challenge,” Gargett said. “Whatcom County is really blessed with Birch Bay, and Washington state is really blessed with Birch Bay.”