A beauty of a sewer plant | Editorial

When the search for a site for a new Oak Harbor sewer plant began, one thing was certain: No one wanted it in Windjammer Park, where the present sewer plant has  given off a malodorous odor for decades and frightened people away from the otherwise attractive east end of the city’s number one attraction for locals and tourists alike: its waterfront.

Since no one wanted the sewer plant sited in the waterfront park, it would have made sense to eliminate that site from consideration from day one. Instead, city fathers and mothers kept it in a mix, always among the options, until -— presto — it’s one of two finalists!

That’s hardly a surprise. After all, the present sewer plant already exists, all the sewer pipes in town lead there, and it’s obviously less costly to build another plant where the old one is located. It’s like keeping the toilet behind a curtain in the living room. Adding a new bathroom to the house would be considerably more expensive, so why not just purchase a prettier curtain?

That’s what a committee appointed to consider designs for the new sewer plant on the beach came up with. Make it less odiferous with a better design, make the building prettier, maybe throw in a amphitheater at the sewer plant to enjoy music while the solids are settling, add enticing public restrooms, or even wedding facilities. Imagine the fond memories of getting married in a room above the sewer plant, with its spectacular view of Oak Harbor Bay. Just make sure there are plenty of electrical outlets for those plug-in air fresheners. Lavender would smell nice for a wedding. The trouble is, guests with imaginations will swear they’re smelling something else.

There’s another site in the running for the sewer plant, on private property on the north side of Crescent Harbor Road. Running all the lines out there and the costs of pumping the effluent in a different direction will probably prove too expensive, assuring us of another 50 years of a sewer plant in Windjammer Park.

It sounds ridiculous, but not long ago a vast majority of the citizens who spoke out were against making Pioneer Way a one-way street. This proves that just because the people don’t want something, there’s a good chance they’ll get it anyway.


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