News Roundup - Parks cutting out pesticides/City extends Getches term/Conservation workshop set/Live music at Colman Dock

Parks cutting out pesticides

Using the word “green” to describe the island’s parks is a bit of an understatement. Now it’s also a homophone.

The Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District recently adopted a new pest management policy that reduces pesticide and herbicide use to next to nothing.

“We want to have a healthier and safer environment – that’s what it’s all about,” said parks manager Arlen “Skip” Elms.

The district’s board adopted an “integrated pest management policy” that will use chemicals only as a last resort in combating insects and weeds. The policy is modeled after similar measures adopted by the city and the school district.

“Pesticide usage will be considered only when the district has determined that other methods have proven ineffective, infeasible or unavailable,” according to the district’s new policy.

“The district’s goal is to eliminate or avoid the use of pesticide products that pose a threat either to the environment or to human health, including chemicals that cause cancer, damage the nervous systems, disrupt endocrine function, or cause reproductive or developmental harm in humans.”

Islander Dale Spoor, his wife, Maria, and other citizen activists now have successfully lobbied the city, Bainbridge schools and the park district to change their spraying ways.

“To have all of the public agencies on the island agreeing not to use dangerous pesticides, and affirming the importance of working with local people to develop alternatives to pesticides is reason to celebrate,” Spoor said. “It sets an example that we hope will eventually filter down to the citizenry.”

Elm estimates the district used about a gallon of herbicide each year as part of a voluntary effort to reduce chemical use.

The district now will rely even more on other means to control weeds on soccer fields, near playgrounds and other areas. New strategies include citrus-based weed killers and increased reliance on weed-trimming machines.

“We’ll fertilize more, mow more carefully at particular times and water more,” said Elms.

It also means more work, money and time for the park district.

“But, using pesticides, there’s a cost for public safety as well,” Elms said.

– Tristan Baurick

City extends Getches term

Attorney Meredith Getches, who has served as the city’s hearing examiner pro tem for the past two years, has accepted an appointment to the position of Hearing Examiner.

“Ms. Getches brings a unique background, which includes experience as a planner and environmental analyst as well as expertise in law and mediation,” said Mayor Darlene Kordonowy, who proposed the appointment at last week’s City Council meeting.

The hearing examiner is responsible for hearing and deciding appeals to decisions made by the city’s Department of Planning and Community Development under city land use and State Environmental Policy Act regulations.

These decisions may address a wide range of land use matters, including variances, short plats, subdivisions recommended for council action, conditional uses, reasonable use exceptions to critical areas regulations, code interpretations, shoreline development permits, enforcement actions and other administrative decisions.

Getches holds a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law and credentials in environmental planning. She served as hearing examiner for the City of Seattle for 13 years.

Conservation workshop set

The city’s Community Forestry Commission will host a public workshop Monday to explore a pilot biodiversity offset program on the island.

Biodiversity offsets are incentive-based conservation actions designed to compensate for the impact of infrastructure projects in order to ensure “no net loss” and preferably, achieve a net gain of biodiversity.

The project would be one of five international pilot efforts planned by the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program, an international consortium of businesses, government agencies and conservation experts that advocates for biodiversity offsets as an aspect of community conservation. The other projects are targeted for Uganda, Ghana, Mexico and Qatar.

“We’re very pleased to have been selected by BBOP as the site for one of their pilot projects,” said Mayor Darlene Kordonowy. “This is an exciting opportunity for the city to take the lead in establishing what could become an international model for sustainable communities.”

Kerry ten Kate, a member of the BBOP program, will discuss how biodiversity offset efforts might be implemented on the island. BBOP offers advice and technical assistance in the development of incentive-based policies to ensure conservation of forests, habitat and biodiversity.

The workshop is 1:30 to 3 p.m. June 5 in the planning department conference room at City Hall.

RSVP to Marja Preston, planner, at 842-2552, or email

Live music at Colman Dock

The Seattle waterfront will come alive on June 10 when Washington State Ferries and the Upper Deck food court vendors at Pier 52 host the first of three “Party at the Pier” summer music concerts in the north lot of the Seattle ferry terminal.

Featured performers are Freddie Pink and the Fabulous Kirkland Brothers, performing their R&B, Motown and funk classics.

One writer dubbed the eight-piece band’s unique style of rhythm and blues as “Jazz-orientated, Bluesrock, Funksoul, with an Eagles-like twist.”

There will be plenty of room to dance. Seating is limited, so concert-goers are encouraged to arrive at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 to 10 p.m. show.

Guests may bring their own chairs, umbrellas if needed and a summer attitude. While there is plenty of parking available in the waterfront area, there will be no parking at the terminal for the event.

The concert will benefit North­west Harvest and a monetary donation is suggested.

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