The Council Chambers overflowed Monday night as Gig Harbor citizens turned out en masse to voice their opinion during an open house and then a public hearing on the Boating Infrastructure Grant — the majority in opposition.
In response to the overwhelming resistance from residents, Mayor Jill Guernsey asked city staff to halt the grant application in a statement issued Tuesday morning.
“Based upon citizen feedback, concerns raised by the Council and other organizations within the community we have decided not to pursue the B.I.G grant for these boating improvements,” Guernsey said in the prepared statement.
She further stated that the work performed by city staff was appreciated, as was the support of Gig Harbor’s businesses and the Port of Tacoma.
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“I look forward to continue to work with the community to explore balanced ways to preserve the character of our beautiful harbor while also supporting our waterfront businesses and enhancing our boating facilities,” Guernsey said.
The grant proposed additional recreational moorage at Jerisich and Maritime docks, which would add 34 berths for a total of 64 berths between the two docks.
Gig Harbor citizens expressed concern over a range of issues surrounding the additional moorage, chief among them the loss of waterfront view from Skansie Park, where the new berths would extend.
South Sound 911 update
Andrew Neiditz, executive director for South Sound 911, presented an update of the agency and its efforts to facilitate a unified dispatch center.
South Sound 911 serves 41 different fire and police agencies, and is working to consolidate six separate dispatch agencies to increase communication and response time for those seeking emergency assistance.
“I don’t think you’ll find another agency in our country that serves as many police and fire departments,” Neiditz said.
A current goal for the agency is the construction of a hybrid campus, consisting of two buildings to house police and fire emergency communications along with a municipal emergency operations center, and the second constructed as a standard business office to house administration and records.
Neiditz said that the agency is currently negotiating with Pierce County to consider the dispatch site at Pacific Avenue and 36th Avenue in Tacoma.
“I feel it is safe to say the work these men and women dispatchers do is important, and it’s critical they have a safe place to work,” Neiditz said.
Gig Harbor Police Officer Garret Chapman was presented the Lifesaving Award on Monday night for his response to an individual considering suicide from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on April 15.
According to Police Chief Kelly Busey, Chapman was the first responder on the scene and spent more than an hour communicating with the individual in distress, though he did not have training in crisis intervention.
“Most of it came from his heart,” Busey said. “That included understanding some of our values. One of our core beliefs (at the police department) is compassion ... and I believe Officer Chapman showed that very well.”
The situation resolved peacefully, Busey said, and the individual was escorted off the bridge without injury.
“I think we all just kind of feel we don’t want something bad to happen,” Chapman said. “This was a team effort ... (and) we all worked together to get the result we wanted.”