No permit for fish farm off Fort Ward

The commercial net pen fish farming operation at Fort Ward has been banned.

Hilary Franz, state commissioner of Public Lands, announced an executive order Nov. 18 at a news conference at the site.

Her agency terminated the lease of Cooke Aquaculture, whose employees were among the protesters. Supporters of the move say raised salmon are a detriment to native stocks.

Terry Lande, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District, referenced the news conference at their meeting Nov. 17.

Also at that meeting an investigation into swim club coach Kyle Harris was received. EJ Swainson, who completed the investigation, said Harris presents no threat of danger to the kids’ safety.

During public comments, nine people spoke in favor of a playground at Fort Ward, with one against. Parks Commissioner Jay Kinney said the board must take a long view on these types of decisions because they affect generations of people.

Dan Hamlin, Park Services Division director, said there will be a presentation on the new mountain bike park Dec. 15. He said it’s being used more than anticipated, and more parking is needed.

A presentation took place this meeting on the Strawberry Hill Park $1.5 million skatepark expansion.

Grindline Skateparks design firm used input from a public meeting in April and a September meeting with a youth advisory group in putting together the concept, which was approved by the board last month.

The goal was to add to the existing bowl, which is for more experienced skateboarders. A survey of 140 people from diverse user groups wanted a street skating element added. The expansion will be beginner friendly and geared toward children. An orca whale, ferry boat and strawberry have been incorporated into the design.

Creative Services manager Douglas Slingerland said fundraising and permitting are their two biggest challenges remaining. James Klinedinst of Grindline said it could take up to five months to build just the first phase of the expansion.

Also, the General Fund, Capital Improvement Fund, Land Acquisition Fund and Turf Field Replacement Fund budgets were passed, along with the salary scale, which includes a 7 percent cost of living increase. Also passed were the regular property tax levy assessment, along with the bond levy tax assessment for Sakai Park.