I would like to acknowledge Cindy Teixeira of the Nisqually Valley News for her in-depth report published on January 19, 2007 in response to questions I posed to the City Council on January 9, 2007 and to the Yelm area community on this very Blog January 14, 2007. I have received no response to those questions to date from the City of Yelm and they still remain unanswered.
This was an informative piece however far from investigative journalism, as there were no questions printed as to anything Ms. Teixeira may have asked City Administrator Shelley Badger to address regarding the SW Aquifer Project, so the front-page story was just a vehicle for the City Administrators views only, without cross-examination. Additionally, there were no further comments from some county residents [critical] for the money the city is spending to conduct water studies on the site of the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community, quoting the NVN.
The questions still remain and even more come to mind from this report:
1. Does the City of Yelm have any contract with the Thurston Highlands developers about water?
Based on comments from Ms. Badger in the NVN, obviously not, If a good water source is found on the Thurston Highlands site, developers will have to pay their fair share, which won’t be determined until the Environmental Impact Statement is complete later this year.
2. Does the City of Yelm have a pro-rata contract with the Thurston Highlands developers about water?
Based on comments from Ms. Badger in the NVN, obviously not, It’s after the EIS “when it will be determined how much they have to pay.”
3. Quoting the NVN, If a good water source is found on the Thurston Highlands site, developers will have to pay their fair share, which won’t be determined until the Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] is complete later this year.
Oh really? Says who? There is no contract with the developers for such.
What if a good water source is not found there? Who pays?
What if the developers pull out? Who pays?
There is no contract with the developer for water, so who is giving permission for wells to be placed on the Thurston Highlands property? Where is the right to do that?
Is the City going to bill the interest payments to the developers for reimbursement for loaning them city money for this study?
Is the City fronting the money for a developer’s EIS to be repaid when the EIS is complete preferential treatment?
Would they do that for you or I?
The Yelm City Council has stated publicly it will not use public funds for private for-profit developments.
Why is the city using taxpayer money to fund a developer’s EIS for Thurston Highlands?
4. Quoting the NVN, But, said Badger, and Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, pursuit of water from that location would be taking place regardless of who owns the property and what they plan to do with it. This is private property that has had various owners during the last decade. What if there is no agreement reached with the current owners?
What will the city do; seize the land and water rights as the City of Olympia did with the brewery last year,
as reported in the Business Examiner?
5. How is the City of Yelm going to recharge the aquifer with all of the treated water it must put back, based on what it proposes to remove? Wont that volume of treated water being placed back in the aquifer contaminate it? Dont you think that is a good question to ask?
6. How do downstream users of the aquifer like the Cities of Olympia & Lacey feel about Yelms treated water recharging the aquifer from where they derive their water?
7. Lets see, the City of Yelm is nearing a water emergency with so much development and one of the citys three wells is unusable, quoting the NVN, A third well is available for emergencies, but the water supply must be treated in a special fashion because it is “under the influence of surface water,” said Tim Peterson, Yelm Public Works director.
Dont you think a good question to ask would have been what/where were the surface conditions that caused this well to be unusable and where does that put the city with 1/3 of its wells out of service? What is the proximity of that third well’s surface conditions to Wal-Mart & its traffic? Will Wal-Mart’s daily traffic pollution from dripping oil & fuel runoff from their proposed volume of vehicles affect those surface conditions in high groundwater areas even more?
8. Quoting the NVN, The owners of the golf course, also the developers of Tahoma Terra and Thurston Highlands, offered to give the city water rights if half of the available water could be used for the Tahoma Terra development. Clearly the developers are in the need for some deal and the city needs their perceived water. Therefore, this question needs to be raised, What limits and conditions have the developers placed on the city for the SW Aquifer Project? Where is the accountablility on all of this between the Thurston Highlands developers and the City of Yelm? Wouldn’t you like to know?
There continues to be sidestepping of the answers to these specific questions and others posed, indicative of community lack of interest for not demanding answers.
What WILL make this community care about this and other issues to want to get involved and demand a full accounting to these questions?
What say YOU?