To my North Whidbey Neighbors: There must be a way we can have an open-hearted and respectful discourse on the issues facing both Central and North Whidbey regarding the Navy’s preferred alternative of expanding Growler operations from 6,100 operations to 23,700 operations at OLF Coupeville?
As a resident of Central Whidbey, I want you to know that the folks I work with in the Sound Defense Alliance: Whidbey do not wish to harm your community or cause you distress.
We are, however, very worried about what this preferred expansion alternative means to us and our lives.
Here is one reason why.
Central Whidbey is, primarily, a land-based economy of tourism and agriculture.
Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve hosts between 400,000 and 500,00 tourists a year.
They stay all over the island, eat out, and purchase all sorts of items all over the Island, but firstly in Coupeville and close-in areas to the Reserve. They come to hike the Reserve and trails surrounding us.
They bring their families. They come from all over the U.S. and from foreign countries as well.
They tell folks about us, and those folks come who pass the word and so it has gone over the years.
Our businesses depend on this renewable resource to sustain them. We have already had people leave because of the Growler flights. But can you imagine what a four-fold increase would mean to us and our economy…an economy that depends on these out-of-door activities to support it?
Our farmers and their workers find the noise intolerable during working hours. Some have had to stop work during training exercises. With difficulty, they have worked around this, but again, can you imagine what the increase will mean to them?
I am a mother, sister, daughter, niece, cousin and friend of good women and men. If any of them were pilots, I would want the best for them, of course I would.
Simply because I care what happens to my community does not mean I want to put anyone’s husbands, wives, sons and daughters, relatives or friends in danger due to lack of good training.
This is a complicated issue. I understand that. Don’t you think there is a way towards a win-win?
Can’t our communities try to understand each other and work somehow towards that win-win?