My statement for Matthew Gilbert’s Friday July 24th article for Orcas Issues: “The fate or future of Eastsound? District 2 council candidates respond”
Eastsound is a laid-back seaside village. Isn’t that what makes it so pleasant to be here and what brings the visitors? It feels as if much of the recent development and proposed development we’re seeing threatens our rural character and relaxed pace. I don’t think we have to look like Kirkland, WA, in order to have an economy that works for us all.
Wouldn’t our lives be better if town planning was consistent with the green, bicycle-friendly, walking village we have the potential to become? Why not improve things so that pedestrians, bicycles, and wheelchairs have better, safer access? During the summer, could we turn the core of the village into a no-car zone, making space for sidewalk cafes and stalls for local producers to sell their goods? Instead of spending $4,500,000 on one street, could we instead use some of those funds to smooth out the sidewalks we already have?
Orcas already has plenty of tourist accommodations at a good variety of price points, but we struggle to provide year-round housing for our teachers and EMTs. I see misplaced priorities. It is long past time to start thinking about our village as a great place to live as well as a great place to visit.