by Richard Uhlhorn
Brian Patterson, the new president of the Chelan Basin Conservancy (CBC) and Lisa Garvich, vice president, addressed Chelan City Council about the CBC’s new and more focused direction.
CBC is most recognized for its efforts to have the Three Fingers removed from Lake Chelan. It eventually lost its case in Washington State’s Supreme Court and the fingers are now being developed. They also were active in trying to stop any development on Chelan Butte.
Patterson told the Council that the CDC is looking to partner with public and private organizations and that “the City of Chelan is an important part of that.”
The CBC is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit and currently has 25 members, but is hoping to grow that membership. Patterson introduced Garvich and Tony Crosetto as the Treasurer and Mary Bider as Secretary.
The CBC’s vision for the Valley is to have ample open space, public lake access and a clean and safe environment for future generations of residents and visitors to enjoy.
Its focus will include Aquatic Invasive Species, public access to the lake, orchard soil contamination and its remediation, and the old Save the Butte campaign.
Patterson stated that the organization would be working on public access and said, “I’m pleased to see the City has embraced this idea.”
Patterson, a retired environmental engineer, was at the forefront of the efforts to convincing the Department of Ecology to address soil contamination on old orchard lands that were subject to contamination from lead arsenic and other chemicals. Each development will now be required to hire a consultant to oversee the initial dirt work and getting clean topsoil.
Garvich told the Council that she has high hopes the organization can develop outstanding relationships and build on those alliances.
She said they would be strategically recruiting and identifying people who can bring diverse attitudes and ideas. “We are encouraging people to get involved,” she said. “We feel strongly that projects need to be looked at globally.” To that the CBC wants to partner with others on how they can protect the environment. “We feel strongly that the public needs to be engaged.”
She stated that lake quality is at the top of the list when it comes to the environment. “We are lucky to have Phil Long (Lake Chelan Research Institute) and the CBC will continue to help “Keep it Blue.”
Garvich mentioned that the CBC continues its efforts to Save the Butte and would lie to see the public purchase that land. She said they are talking with the Trust for Public Lands and the Chelan Land Trust along with the State Legislature. “It’s a part of Chelan’s small town feel,” she said, but noted that the Butte Property is under a contract for potential development at this time.
The City, under Mayor Mike Cooney, had the Butte on its Legislative Priority list and wanted the purchase the 900 acres currently privately held. The purchase price, if it becomes available again, is approximately $8 million dollars.
Chelan Basin Conservancy’s website is at http://www.chelanbasinconservancy.org.