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WHITE WATER PARK DISCUSSION 12-2-15 LMS

Prior to the November election the Salmon City Council was advised not to enter into discussions about the ballot proposition which would, if passed, make it illegal to build the proposed Whitewater Park on city property. Now that the election is over some members of the City Council want to openly discuss aspects of the planned project.

At the December 2 meeting of the council Councilman Jim Bockelman said he wants to address citizen concerns and determine how to proceed. Councilman Russ Chinske was the first to respond saying there are so many questions that simply canít be answered as to whatís real and what isnít. He said, ďThereís a lot of Ďnot realí out there thatís not going on.Ē

Chinske said he wanted to point out the opposition to the project had its opportunity and was defeated soundly in every city precinct, through the democratic process. He mentioned the reference to drownings in other parts of the country that were brought up by supporters of the ordinance. He said, ďI was really disappointed that people would use the deaths of these people to stoke fear, to try to get an ordinance passed so that it would make it illegal for us to build a park.Ē Chinske said the supporters did not do their homework on that topic.

He went on to say he understands concerns over safety issues and said those issues will be addressed as the process proceeds but canítí be discussed now because the project has so far to go. He feels the agreement in place is clear and that people are putting the cart ahead of the horse.

As to the cityís role Councilman Jim Baker said the city must definitely be involved because of its existing agreement with the Salmon Whitewater Park Association (SWPA).

Baker said a recently published letter to the editor from Evalyn Bennett brings up points he thinks should be considered and that the city should be working more closely with the association. Councilman Rob Jackson also thought the Bennett letter contained valid points.

In her letter Bennett focused on four points: an increase in city oversight as in a monthly report to the council from SWAP; address safety issues; determine who assumes maintenance and liability for the park and make a determination on whether or not granting Local Option Tax monies for Whitewater Park fund raisers constitutes financial support from the city and is an appropriate use of those funds.

Baker wanted to go through her points one by one in a positive way, beginning that evening. Bockelman wanted to wait on discussions and/or decisions until the new councilman, Neal James, assumes office.

In regards to keeping tabs on what SWPA is doing Councilman Ken Hill noted it is a 501c3 organization and their meeting minutes are open to the public. Chinske recommended inviting SWPA to present a report to the council. He said he doesnít see there is any issue because it is up to SWPA to obtain the permits and if they mess that up the project is done. He said much of the information being demanded doesnít exist yet.

A motion by Jim Baker to contact SWPA and ask for an update presentation at the councilís next meeting passed unanimously.






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