VANCOUVER LAKE TASK FORCE MEETINGS
To: Iloba Odum, Director, SW Regional Office, Deprtment of Ecology
From: Dvija Michael Bertish, Chairman, Rosemere Neighborhood Association
June 15, 2004
Attached below is an email that I sent to Betty Sue Morris last December asking to be part of the Vancouver Lake Task Force. I did not receive a response to this request, and suffice it to say that I was disappointed at what I read in the Columbian today as well as the Task Force’s media release. Everyone knows that RNA has been extremely active in this situation and that we want to participate in this process.
In response to your voice mail today, Lee McAllister is not the chairman of all the neighborhoods. He is the chairman of Fruit Valley alone. At one time, he served as chair of a secondary group called the Neighborhood Alliance, but that was several years ago, and that group did not represent all of the neighborhoods either. Mr. McCallister is not a spokesperson for all neighborhoods, and he does not represent the interests of all the neighborhoods, including the RNA. I know you are aware that Vancouver Lake is not the sole interest of Fruit Valley, as I am sure that Burnt Bridge Creek is not the sole interest of the RNA. We are dealing with public issues here, and all stakeholders, including interested and concerned citizens must have a voice in this process.
I want to make sure that the Task Force understands that the RNA is ready, willing, and able to participate in all Task Force meetings, and we want to be included as soon as possible. Our position is that we should have been informed on what was going on, and we should have been allowed to observe if not to participate. I was also wondering how JD White & Associates was chosen to faciliate these Task Force meetings.
I received a response from Sherri Greenup saying that she will process my request to review the meeting minutes as soon as I fill out a Public Disclosure Form. She was under the impression that you sent me such a form, but to my knowledge, there was no such form attached to any of your recent emails to me. I asked her to forward any such form to me so that we can expedite this matter.
I hope you understand that our position here is to be constructive and active regarding this serious water quality issue. Our standing in the community and our personal history with you clearly indicates this water quality focus for the RNA. What we have learned about the Task Force thus far only translates that it is exclusive rather than inclusive, and this needs to be corrected for all concerned. I know you have said that the Task Force will become public shortly, and we are waiting to hear when we will be able to attend the next Task Force function.
Again, please review my email to Betty Sue below.
Dvija Michael Bertish, Chairman
Rosemere Neighborhood Association
Media Advisory — Provided to RNA by Iloba Odum, DOE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Partnership to consider Vancouver Lake
Vancouver (June 7, 2004) –A new partnership is coming together to tackle the multi-faceted issues and opportunities facing Vancouver Lake.
The Vancouver Lake Watershed effort, still in its early formative stages, is bringing together staff members with scientific and technical emphasis from the following agencies: the Port of Vancouver, City of Vancouver, Clark County, Clark Public Utilities, Port of Ridgefield, Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership, Army Corps of Engineers, and the state departments of Ecology, Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife. Plans for public participation are still being developed, with additional information expected late this month.
As a vital regional resource, Vancouver Lake fulfills a variety of functions – wildlife habitat; flood control; wetlands, surface water and ground water hydrology; boating, bird watching, hiking, hunting and other recreational activities; and environmental education and stewardship.
Government agencies share interest, involvement and authority over those many and diverse lake functions, which have been shaped by years of public interest and activities, from farming in the late 1800s to the public-private Habitek Consortium work in the 1980s.
“We will have the right players around the table to tackle water quality issues at Vancouver Lake and allow it to continue as one of the region’s premier environmental and recreational assets,” said David Judd, Vancouver Director of Parks and Recreation.
The 2,600-acre Vancouver Lake is the back yard of the Fruit Valley Neighborhood, which welcomes the effort. Lee McCallister, Neighborhood Chairman, believes all of Southwest Washington should pull together for the sake of this regional asset. “We all believe a good environment is a clean environment,” McCallister said. “We’re asking for more help. We don’t need the hindrances. We need the help.”
Brian Carlson, Public Works Director for the City of Vancouver, agreed that the effort will require much participation and work. “We need to explore these challenges together, in a way that recognizes the interdependence of all aspects of the lake and those who care for it,” he said.
“It is great to see a partnership of so many state and local agencies working together to address a significant community issue,” said Peter Capell, Clark County Director of Public Works. “It is going to take the support and cooperation of all of the agencies working together to make this successful project.”
“Quality of life is important to businesses and residents alike,” said Larry Paulson, Executive Director of the Port of Vancouver. “We look forward to this united effort to further address issues facing Vancouver Lake.”
Media Note: The above is a collaborative effort of involved agencies. For additional information, please contact: Loretta Callahan, Public Information/Community Relations, City of Vancouver Public Works at (Office) 360.759.4479 or (Cell) 360.609.3002.
——Original Message —–
From: Dvija Michael Bertish
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 11:37 PM
Subject: Vancouver Lake
Betty Sue (Clark County Commissioner)
As you know, the Board of the Rosemere Neighborhood Association has been working the last few years on various water quality issues, including the problems with Vancouver Lake and its tributaries. We are still awaiting word on our grant to the EPA to fund a collaborative problem-solving process to help deal with these important issues — this is the grant that that the Clark County Commissioners have supported with a letter indicating that you would particiapte in the collaborative process. Word should arrive sometime before Christmas as to whether our grant is among the finalists being considered, and so far, we’ve been told that the grant is “exceptional.”
We understand that Clark County will be appointing a Task Force to address the problems with Vancouver Lake. We respectfully request to be members of and to participate in this task force so that we can continue to help find solutions to these very important problems. Please let us know how this request can be honored.
Also, I have forwarded to you some commentary on the City’s proposed Gateway project, which involves the problems with Vancouver Lake. And there is additional commentary regarding the malfunctioning Flushing Channel. I am sure you will find this information useful for the purposes of the Task Force.
As always, your comments and questions are always welcome. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Dvija Michael Bertish, Chairman
Rosemere Neighborhood Association