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Aug. 18, 2022

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Vancouver council, port commission meet aboard boat

Officials take ride on Columbia River for new perspective on waterfront work

By , Columbian politics reporter
Published:
5 Photos
Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle examines a cargo ship at the Port of Vancouver during a joint meeting of the Vancouver City Council and Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners on board the fire boat Discovery Monday.
Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle examines a cargo ship at the Port of Vancouver during a joint meeting of the Vancouver City Council and Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners on board the fire boat Discovery Monday. Photo Gallery

Monday’s Vancouver City Council meeting came with a safety warning: Wear your lifejacket. If you fall overboard, someone will fetch you.

Joined by the Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners, the council took to the Columbia River aboard the Vancouver Fire Department’s boat, Discovery. They saw the waterfront with a new perspective.

“We talk about being a waterfront community, developing the waterfront, but not often we as policymakers get to see the perspective from the water side,” said City Manager Eric Holmes.

The tour featured key points along the pathway and how it reflected the diversity of the waterfront. Councilors stopped by the Tidewater Cove Marina, the Columbia Business Center, Columbia Shores development, the Interstate 5 Bridge, the port’s Terminal 1 and The Waterfront Vancouver development.

The massive Waterfront Vancouver development is underway, but many other changes have occurred. Tidewater Cove, for example, didn’t exist until 2015. Holmes said as the waterfront continues benefiting from development, it’s important to be conscientious of each decision made.

“The decisions we make today will impact the future,” he said just after the waves stopped splashing the boat as a result of what appeared to be Councilor Bart Hansen behind the wheel.

Farther down the river, Mike Bomar, director of economic development at the port, explained the next steps planned for Terminal 1.

At the former Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, the port is working on a master plan and developing a preferred option.

“Ultimately, the vision is for this to come down and we’re looking at putting a public market in that place,” Bomar said.

A first look at the market was unveiled in May. Bomar said the port is finishing plans with its partners and developing a cost assessment so they can begin moving forward with planning phases and sourcing revenue. A plan should be presented at the commission’s September meeting.

Tackling I-5 Bridge

Under the Interstate 5 Bridge, Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle asked the commissioners to join the city council in calling for a replacement bridge. The council unanimously approved a resolution last week hoping to push the discussion forward.

“Our community has asked for help, our businesses have asked for help. … We’ve had a number of different issues with this … but we are a bistate regional system for economics and transportation,” McEnerny-Ogle said before the resolution was approved. She told the port commissioners Monday she would see them in the morning to discuss the topic at their Tuesday meeting.

Before closing out the tour, Port Commissioner Eric LaBrant invited the public to tour the port from the land.

“There’s a heck of a lot more to see on land,” LaBrant said of the free tours. “It’s like a field trip for grown-ups.”

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