Editorial: Dock workers deserve credit

Oak Harbor’s new dock, which goes by the fancy name of a municipal pier, is mostly finished thanks to the hard work of a dedicated core of volunteers.

Don’t bother running down to the waterfront to see how the new facility is progressing. In this day and age, actual construction is the easy part of any public project. The demanding part, requiring much time, patience and persistence, is the permitting process.

That tedious process was proclaimed complete last week, when after seven long years of work Oak Harbor Marina Harbormaster Dave Williams was able to tell the City Council that the Pier Committee, including himself, Helen Chatfield-Weeks, Doug Francis and Sheilah Crider, with assistance from various consultants, finally have acquired all the permits needed to start work on the new dock.

Mayor Patty Cohen appropriately thanked committee members for their work, and then the City Council appropriated $440,000 for final dock design and engineering. Compared to the permits, this will happen almost instantaneously — in less than a year.

Williams hopes construction of the physical dock can begin in 2007. In the meantime, city officials can keep working on funding the structure, which is estimated to cost more than $6 million with most of that coming from federal and state sources.

If all goes well, Oak Harbor will have its long-awaited replacement for the old Maylor Dock in just a few years. The new dock will invigorate the downtown waterfront, bring new life to downtown businesses, and provide a great recreational, transportation and commercial resource for all Whidbey Islanders and island visitors.

None of this could have happened without the dozen permits acquired from various government agencies, and the people who helped acquire the permits deserve the community’s thanks. It wasn’t easy work, but it laid the essential foundation for the city’s new municipal pier.

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