Attractive Oak Harbor waterfront sewer plant pondered

A group of Oak Harbor citizens recently spent two days considering the options for siting and designing a multi-million dollar facility that will treat all the malodorous and unsightly stuff people flush down their toilets.

How about incorporating a wedding facility next to the membrane bioreactor? That’s one of the many surprising ideas the group considered during the in-depth design “charrette.”

The Oak Harbor City Council received a briefing on the group’s efforts during a special workshop July 12. The workshop will be televised on channel 10.

City officials plan to replace Oak Harbor’s aging wastewater treatment facilities with a modern system by 2017. The City Council has narrowed the possible sites for the new facility to just two: Windjammer Park and a vacant piece of land on the north side of Crescent Harbor Road.

The group of citizens spent one session focusing on each site. The session were guided by an architect from a firm that’s working for the city. The citizens came to the conclusion that a facility in the city’s popular waterfront park would have to “wow the community,” according to a press release from the city. Some of the ideas included incorporating a meeting run, an amphitheater, fancy restrooms of even a wedding facility.

The idea isn’t as farfetched as it sounds. It turns out that other communities that have built state-of-the-art, stink-free treatment plants have found many public uses for the facilities, even including weddings.

According to the city, the group was less concerned about the aesthetics of a facility located outside the city on Crescent Harbor Road. They considered the possibility of water reclamation and reuse, the development of a fish hatchery and open space with walking trails.

Members of the group were David Acton, Corky Bridgeford, Gray Giordan, Joanne Hartley, Russ Hartley, Mike Horrobin, John Koetje, Robin Kolaitis, Jill Johnson, Bruce Neil, Sean Rafferty, Daisy Sapida, Dale Smith and Jeff Trumbore.

The results of the group’s work will be incorporated into the analysis by the technical design team to assist the City Council in choosing a final site in August.


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