Bainbridge has a big foot
At least when it comes to solid waste.
BI has worked in many areas to reduce its environmental footprint. But solid waste has been neglected.
That’s what City Manager Blair King told City Council at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“It’s so in conflict with our values,” said board member Kirsten Hytopoulos. “We need to clean up our act.”
Council member Leslie Schneider added, “The biosolids are trucked off the island. It adds to our footprint.
The board ultimately decided to spend up to $30,000 on experts to assess the BI process to see how it could be improved. Potential changes could include mandatory solid waste and recycling for residents.
King said BI is the only town in Kitsap County that does not require recycling. He said that decision was made in 1991, when BI first became a city, and that it was “too difficult” to include that among all he had to do. The city therefore does not manage its own waste. He added that “the importance of waste has increased” over the past 30 years. King said on most other issues, the city has been “more proactive” in reducing waste going to landfill.
In a related matter, and what really caused BI to review its process, the board discussed the purchase of a biodigester and the creation of an anaerobic digestion facility for food waste.
King said that according to the Washington Municipal Research and Services Center, food waste is a major emitter of greenhouse gases. “If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world,” its memo to the board reads.
Anaerobic digestion is a natural process in which microorganisms break down organic matter usually in a closed system with air or oxygen to produce a usable product, such as natural gas.
Such a facility may not currently operate on BI because recycling is voluntary and the city does not control the waste stream. But if that changes, the city has property in a transfer facility off Vincent Road that could potentially be used as an anaerobic digestion facility. There are 30 acres there, 10 acres are cleared and 6 acres was an old dump. Some private companies are interested in operating such a facility.
King said the BI has important climate action targets, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025 compared to 2014 standards. city have actually grown since then. So something has to be done. Such a facility isn’t the only option, King said. An aerobic composting facility could produce soil manure, for example. This is why evaluation is necessary, he concluded.
The council also discussed the lack of health care on BI since the Swedish health services closed their primary care clinic last May. It left about 8,000 patients without care.
About 25% of them were able to be transferred to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health BI Clinic and Pacifica Medicine in Poulsbo, according to a note from Anne LeSage, emergency management coordinator, at King.
The city council asked King to ask staff to look into the matter.
BI, Kitsap County and the state are federally designated health care shortage areas. BI still has three healthcare providers.
Virginia Mason has a waiting list for new patients, MemberPlus Family Health is accepting new patients but is membership-based, and Bainbridge Pediatrics is accepting new child patients. The clinic space left by the Swedes remains vacant.
LeSage’s memo says that to increase the number of health care providers, the city could consider adding health care recruitment as a priority for external providers such as Kitsap Economic Development Association, BI Downtown Association and the BI Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Joe Deets said it was “a very concerning issue for us” and elsewhere in Poulsbo and North Kitsap.
King said he would be more proactive and come up with a resolution for the board to pass.
“Why not us.”
This quote made famous by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson a few years ago could also apply to what Bainbridge thinks of the Kitsap Public Facilities District.
Russ Shiplet, district executive director, and Tom Bullock, who represents BI on its board, addressed the board.
Shiplet said county sales taxes are used to help fund the projects. In a powerpoint, he showed examples of nearly $244,000 for the Poulsbo Leisure and Events Center and nearly $1.7 million for a trails project at Heritage Park in North Kitsap.
Council member Michael Pollock asked why none of the four selected projects are in BI. He asks if the distribution of funds should have a geographical aspect.
“I pushed hard to get that money allocated here,” like a new pool, Bullock said. Given that this area did not secure funding this time around, “hopefully this bodes well for Bainbridge in the future.”
Shiplet said the funding mechanism is in place until 2041. “We want to share the wealth as much as possible,” he said.
All public comments focused on the city’s sustainable transportation plan, which was discussed last week.
Fran Korten, like all the other callers, supported option 2, which was the mid-priced one. She likes it because “quality roads connect neighborhoods”. Korten said once these are built, people will want to expand the project. She wanted to see more off-road projects, a citizen’s commission for input, and the Sound To Olympic trail built into every document so it would be eligible for state and federal funds.
Susan Loftus said she supported routes with maximum traffic separation. She also said the plan lacked multi-model facets that could receive funding from elsewhere. “If we don’t take advantage of it, it’s up to us,” she said.
Kate March said she liked option 2 because it’s suitable for all ages and abilities.
Heather Fredrickson said maximum separation is a must. She said she was cycling with her daughter on the back when she had to pull out of the bike lane because trash cans were there. She said a motorist drove up beside her and yelled at them. “I didn’t feel safe,” Frederickson said.
Laura Marshall said she was not a cyclist but wanted to be. “A large herd in our community” wants to ride, she said. They want to convert to cycling to help achieve BI’s climate action goals. “But we need to feel safe,” she said, adding that more off-road trails are needed in the plan.