The Bluff is Under Attack! April 12, 2017
Dear Friend of the Bluff,
The bluff is under attack.
An unauthorized road which reports say is over a mile in length, has been built on the bluff in the last two days. It extends on the Northwest from the privately owned farm on the flats next to the creek, almost to the golf course. As you can see from the photo at the bottom of this page, there is a huge amount of damage.
If you care about the Bluff now is the time to make your voice heard. At the end of this email, we provide some contact information.
Here is the message that Jim Wilson, President of the Friends of the Bluff Board, received from Leroy Eadie, Director of the Parks Department, which is pretty much a verbatim copy of a joint press release issued by Spokane City Parks and Avista.
--------------- BEGIN MESSAGE ---------------
Hi Jim. This is what we know at this point.
April 10 and 11, a contractor built a road and removed trees on Parks conservation land along the bluff on the south hill (below Bernard and north along the bank of Latah Creek), adjacent to and across an Avista utility easement corridor, and on private property.
There was an apparent misunderstanding regarding the authorization of construction of the access road and tree removal.
The City did not receive or authorize a permit request for this work, which would involve property designated as conservation land.
The contractor has been told in writing and verbally to stop all work. The City of Spokane’s risk management department is assessing the damage.
Spokane Parks and Recreation, Avista and The First Tee of the Inland Northwest are committed to learning all the facts and to communicate that information with the public.
We’re also committed to learning from errors that lead to this unplanned damage to Park conservation property to ensure they don’t happen again, and to working with stakeholders to follow all appropriate processes to ensure restoration, mitigation and communication internally and with the community take place.
Related Project – The First Tee of the Inland Northwest Youth Golf Course
Parks and Recreation and The First Tee of the Inland Northwest, a private non-profit, are considering an agreement to build a par 3 youth golf course adjacent to The Creek at Qualchan golf course. Parks issued a tree removal permit to The First Tee of the Inland Northwest for the 6-acre par 3 youth golf course only.
The agreement does not contemplate a building of the road along the bluff or tree removal on the road. The road work done was outside the scope of the potential agreement.
Avista entered into a verbal agreement with The First Tee of the Inland Northwest to cost share an access road that could benefit both parties. Avista anticipates needing access to their utility corridor along the bluff Parks property through their easement in the fall of 2017 to replace power poles. The First Tee of the Inland Northwest anticipated using the access road instead of accessing the construction site through Qualchan golf course.
City Legal is investigating utility easements across all Parks property in this area.
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The three hole golf course First Tee intends to build is only 100 yards from the golf course driving range. It would have been so much easier to bring in the equipment for building the golf course from the Qualchan parking lot. The road was completely unnecessary.
Here are a few questions you might want to voice your opinion on:
1. Should any further road building or golf course construction happen without public involvement and detailed plans and permits?
2. Should the parties responsible begin immediately to remediate the damage they have caused, and restore the land to its natural contours and native vegetation?
3. Should there be an open and transparent process to determine who the responsible parties are?
If you’d like to make your voice heard you can contact the appropriate public officials listed below:
Pamela Clarke 625-6241
for Leroy Eadie, Parks Dept. Director; firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Breean Beggs: 625-6254; email@example.com
Councilwoman Lori Kinnear: 625-6261; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor David Condon: 625-6250; email@example.com
** Please send Friends of the Bluff a copy of your comments by posting a copy on the contact form.
President, Friends of the Bluff