Tuesday, December 09, 2008

An Historic Epiphany

Sometimes, people just do things right. What is amazing, in the case of the beleaguered Bayview Chamber of Commerce, it was unexpected. Suffering through at least six years of dysfunctional management, somehow this group found it's feet again. A nominating committee headed by Skip Wilcox, realized that the community had been torn apart by various events and cliques were sadly mishandled. We are not going to belabor these points. What is done, is done.

What we would like to do, however, is congratulate the new officers and board members that were carefully chosen by this committee with the apparent goal of finding people that wanted to serve,not rule. That hadn't fouled their collective nest by joining into damaging clique activities. This little village has produced an amazing amount of vitriol in the last two years.

Much of that has been the rapid change in the community structure. Money moved in, citizens moved out. We are a village in transition without a goal, just resentment. The first to move in was Bob Holland, of Waterford Park Homes, LLC. A developer with no boundaries, he gobbled up three tired businesses, all marinas that wanted out. In some cases he bought them at way below market value, but then he was making the market, wasn't he?

The community, long settled into a sleepy fun resort for the lower and middle income groups, had been discovered. Eight miles off the main road, you can't reach Bayview without intending to go there. Many of our neighbors from Spokane that were our summer people, were our friends as well. Suddenly, everything changed. Mobile homes were kicked out of Vista Bay, a spot that summer people had used for decades. Then the Bayview Mobile Home Park, centered in the downtown area was evicted for future sale.

When the real estate bust started, all of these grandiose plans were at full speed ahead. They are now at full stop. Lots aren't selling, spec building loans are laughed at. The problem facing Bayview,though, isn't really any of these previous events, except indirectly. You see, with the motel shutting down, the trailer park vacated, Vista Bay mobile homes gone, we are bordering on becoming a ghost town. Our restaurants may not be here to greet you this spring, because of the lack of customers during the winter.

The new administration of the Bayview Chamber is facing a daunting task. Not only are they facing a huge recession bordering on depression, but there aren't many permanent residents left. When the real estate market picks up again, which I predict not to happen for about three or more years, will there be any businesses left here.

Some of the problem lies with the Chamber itself. Faced with the loss of the way of life they had always known, residents rose up in protest to this violating of their lifestyle. Unfortunately the lifestyle that most had enjoyed for decades was over. It is time for the Chamber of commerce to recognize that commerce includes the developers, the marinas and all the other businesses that have been considered intruders. They are here, they have most of our waterfront and we need to engage them in dialog, not anger.

When they give money to the community for the enjoyment of all, we need to stop vilifying them for doing so. The Chamber of commerce is no longer the Chamber of Business. Hopefully this will change with the new group taking over. Otherwise, it's just another bunch of blowhards listening to each other. We can not any longer entertain a bunch of destroyers. To quote a famous street person, Rodney King, "Can't we just get along?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thank you for leaving this positive note.