Olympia council made a decision on Capitol Lake. Is it the right one?

August 13th, 2021 by Ken

The Olympia City Council should be commended for its decision on the future of Capitol Lake.

Commended, not for the decision, but for making a decision.  The issue of Capitol Lake has been in a holding pattern for nearly two decades.  All of the government agencies, from the state, cities, port and other governmental districts have refrained from making a decision.  Consequently the problem has grown worse and more expensive.

One of the reasons no one wanted to make a decision is because there is no right decision and no easy decision.  Government always puts off making a decision when there isn’t a preponderance of agreement.  In the case of what to do with Capitol Lake – every decision is a bad decision except for not making a decision.

The Olympia council chose to let Capitol Lake revert to an estuary and become a tide flat.  That was probably the correct decision 70 years ago before the Fifth Avenue dam was constructed (which everyone now agrees was a bad decision.)   But, is it the correct decision now, after several decades of commercial development north of the dam.

When that dam is removed, all of the dirt and silt collected in Capitol Lake will flow into Budd Inlet.  That will severely impact the Olympia Yacht Club, Percival Landing, and particularly the Port of Olympia.   As the silt pours out of the lake it will collect in the harbor.  Eventually, the port will not be able to function as a marine terminal, without a great deal of dredging.  I suspect that getting federal permits to dredge will be extremely difficult.

I don’t have an answer.   I’m just glad that a government agency has made a decision – even if it may be wrong.

We’ll have to see now what the Port of Olympia recommends.  Two port seats are up for election this year.  I think its very important to know where the candidates stand on this important issue.  Ask them the question.


Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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