Meeting change raises Island County commissioner’s ire

Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson voiced her displeasure when she learned that Oak Harbor’s public meeting about the county fairground project was postponed.

“For the record, I think that’s not OK,” Johnson said.

The issue was raised during Monday’s meeting after Johnson was announcing the meeting to the public, but was corrected by Commissioner Helen Price Johnson.

“There was significant requests for additional feedback for the South Whidbey group,” Price Johnson said.

The meeting cancelation appeared to catch Johnson by surprise.

“So scratch that, don’t go to the meeting,” Johnson said to the audience.

“North Whidbey will not have a chance to hear about the fairgrounds until South Whidbey can weigh in … again.”

The Island County Economic Development Council, which is heading up the project, hosted a meeting on a proposed overhauls of the Whidbey Island Area Fairgrounds on South Whidbey Feb. 18.

An Oak Harbor meeting was originally set for Tuesday, March 11. It was changed to 7 p.m. April 2, at North Whidbey Middle School.

“The steering committee wanted to do additional outreach,” Price Johnson said.

“I think that was my point,” Johnson replied. “South Whidbey needs more feedback before North Whidbey has a chance to weigh in?”

Price Johnson added later that it was school superintendents and 4-H leaders, not the South Whidbey community at large, who requested a chance to give additional feedback.

For the past several months, Whidbey Island Area Fair leaders have been planning a $10-million overhaul of the fairgrounds.

The initial proposal was presented to the Langley City Council last month, to be followed by open houses around the county.

Historically significant buildings, including the Pole Building, would remain intact, while others could be relocated or razed.

A main goal of the remodel is to reduce heating and overhead costs.

The full Island County Strategic Plan can be found online at


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