Carnation is currently grappling with the need for a sewer system, a problem many rural communities are facing. But is Carnation really rural anymore? Can the current business and residential
core maintain a city? Can the city survive without sewers?
For the business community, a sewer system is a must. It’s obvious in
the downtown corridor that the combination of high rents and lack of
expansion opportunities are a major problem. King County agrees, citing the city’s
proximity to the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers, as well as the high water table
and flood potential.
Several concerns were raised about the economic impact and the need
for the community to vote on the proposal. The want of a vote likely stems
from everyone’s desire to have their say. Well, the community had their say
when they elected the Carnation city councilmembers to their positions. They
are the representative body, so why not let them do their job and facilitate what
is best for the community? There is a process for public hearings, much like
the one last week, and it is likely that most of the councilmembers are very in
tune with the concerns of their constituents.
But the need for sewers is much larger than just the small community
of Carnation. The Snohomish River basin, of which the Snoqualmie is a part,
is one of the largest fish-bearing basins in the state. And, if I recall, there is
this thing called the Endangered Species Act, which will start to influence
how many of our natural waterways will be protected and regulated. Sewers
for communities in the Snohomish River Basin would seem to be a natural
first step toward protection.
Regardless of the environmental impacts are the impacts to local
businesses. Yes, maybe the city could survive without sewers, but the
business community will not grow without them. To those who think the business
community doesn’t need to grow, great. Then shut down the city functions,
allow all of the tasks now performed by the city to go back to the county and
allow your voice in local politics to become the King County Council. Then all
permitting, regulations and other government functions will take as long to
happen as they do in county-governed areas now.
Sewers are the right way to go; they will contribute to the economic
viability of the community, and they will protect the natural resources
surrounding the community. The short-term economic impacts will quickly be
outweighed by the potential damages if they are not developed.