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Anadromous stream ordinance raises concerns

Posted: August 20, 2012 - 8:42am

Like many others on the Peninsula, I am concerned about the anadromous stream ordinance. Since most people  live on the Kenai Peninsula because we love its beauty and its fish, the way that our current assembly acted on their view of protecting the fish, through taking 50 feet on both sides of every riverfront, lakeshore and stream bed, was poorly reasoned and lacked consideration for the owner/residents. 

  The people were never given any specifics on why this ordinance was needed — other than the assembly wanted it. We were never shown any actual damages or egregious examples of any destructive actions along any of these waterways that would cause immediate danger to the fish stocks. 

Rather than explaining any logical need for their radical actions, the assembly instead passed an edict that has caused a rebellion, rather than what could have been an effective  joint effort to protect the resource. 

Some years ago they took the same action to ‘protect’ the Kenai River, and judging by this year’s fishing fiasco, that must not have worked, because the fishing has gotten worse, not better, under their ‘guardianship’. 

After passing this edict, without even notifying the property owners about it in advance, they began  issuing ‘waivers’ and ‘clairfications’ on parts of the ordinance. They never told us how this would be enforced nor how many of our taxpayer dollars would be spent trying to enforce it. It has already become a tangled, hodgepodge of problems and special interest changes. 

When  Seldovia threatened a class action lawsuit (thus getting a waiver) many others are now considering legal actions, as well. All of which will mean more cost to the borough, whether they win or lose them. 

I see in the legal reports that someone has already been cited for ‘riding a recreational vehicle across a stream’ ... how does this cause more damage than several moose walking across that stream? And this citation has a required court date. What is that about? 

The assembly should have been smart enough to realize that when you issue such dictatorial orders with little or no input from the people, it gets peoples’ back up! The first impulse is to reject it and fight against it. That is human nature. The assembly should have been smarter than to do it the way they did. 

It needs to be repealed and they need to start over! 

Begin by explaining the problems, showing actual damages, proving that any new restrictions will help solve the problems and asking the people for ideas and help on how to make sure our fish are protected. 

I believe the people would voluntarily be much more cooperative, if it was approached this way. So much more could be accomplished if we worked together, instead of against each other. 

By their autocratic way of handling this, the assembly has reinforced the view of the people, that they don’t really care what the people want, and that will have more repercussions down the road.

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