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Neighbors worry about ice arena's possible impact on creeks

When the Pavilion was built at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in 1985, the creek that runs through Mary Bertrand’s land on Barker Creek Road was flooded with silt.

A salmon egg-hatching box installed near the creek by the Suquamish Tribe also was flooded, and thousands of fish eggs were smothered.

“Even years later, silt is still a problem,” said Bertrand, a member of the Chums of Barker Creek.

The same creek, Pinsch, flows beneath the land on which the planned Silverdale ice arena would be built, according to county maps.

The arena team announced March 7 that it will employ a system to collect and filter stormwater below ground. Bertrand, whose parents bought the land in 1941, fears the water will feed into the underground creek and create excessive runoff.

Mike Wnek, the civil engineer employed on the ice arena project, admits that without extensive drilling and soil work it is hard to predict exactly where the water will go as it filters through the native sand.

“But on the other hand, it will get there slower than if we used a detention pond,” Wnek said.

The land is zoned urban restricted, which means no more than half of any project may include impermeable surfaces, according to Kelly Robinson, manager of land use for the county Department of Community Development. That includes parking lots.

The Silverdale ice arena would meet those requirements by not paving land for parking, Robinson said. The 46,041-square-foot facility would share parking with the Pavilion.

Arena project leader Greg Meakin will have to apply for a conditional use permit before the project can be approved by Kitsap County Commissioners.

To gain approval, the project will have to meet tougher requirements handed down March 13 by County Commissioner Tim Botkin. He is requesting that there be “no net discharge” of stormwater from the building.

“This is my position and pitch. For one, it is because (the arena) is near the creek, and two, because it is our project and we need to set a good example where we can,” Botkin said.

Wnek said the more rigorous requirements for the arena could be met.

“Based on the ordinance, we could expand the trench to show no discharge. It is probably economically and physically possible to meet that criteria,” Wnek said.

The civil engineer explained that such a project would have to be based on a “100-year,” or worst conceivable storm. Such a storm would produce 5-7 inches of precipitation in one day at the Fairgrounds, Wnek said.

Wnek said Botkin’s decision likely would have long-term implications for all planning that occurs on the Fairgrounds.

The only other proposed improvement to the Fairgrounds which would add impermeable surface would be to cover the equestrian area, Botkin said. He would suggest the same regulations for that project.

Outside of concerns she and other Chums of Barker Creek have about the ice arena, Bertrand said she is enthusiastic about improvements to be funded by $4.5 million sales tax rebate awarded by the Kitsap County Public Facilities District (PFD).

“I’m really excited about the PFD funding for the Fairgrounds. I think it will give it the direction to be developed nicely. It think it’s very exciting,” Bertrand said.

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