Growth, more jobs also mean more traffic, pollution, less space

Posted: Monday, March 15, 2004

A Mr. Croft recently wrote an article expressing his concern over the extension of the North Road to Point Possession and it's impact on his "quality of life."

The Clarion recently ran a special section on the economic health of the peninsula. In the article, one statistic caught my eye: "The growth rate of the peninsula has averaged 3.2 percent for the last 16 years." Now 3.2 percent sounds innocent enough, so I decided to see what would happen over the next three generations, (60 years) if this growth rate remains the same. In 20 years, the population grows to 93,878; in 40 years, it's up to 176,261; and in 60, years it's up to 330,300!

This growth rate will significantly reduce-destroy the quality of life we enjoy today. Somewhere between two and three generations from now, I predict that all commercial fishing in Cook Inlet will be banned as the entire allowed harvest of halibut and salmon will be consumed by sport fishermen, subsistence fishermen and tourists. Moose hunting will be closed as road kill will control the herds. A drive from Sterling to Kenai to Homer by then will be similar to driving the Old Seward Highway in Anchorage today; miles of trailers, houses, apartments, junk yards, drive-ins, shops, etc.

It's strange how all our leaders promise more jobs and more growth, but what they don't say is they promise more traffic, more pollution, ever more crowded fishing conditions and an ever decreasing quality of life.

I guess that means open space, reasonable fishing opportunities, a clean environment and manageable traffic are bad for us. At the rate we're going, the very essence of rural life on most of the peninsula will be gone within two or three generations.

I've heard of an old saying from some of the older Alaskans that goes something like "take as much as you can as fast as you can for tomorrow it will be gone." I think I now understand where this philosophy comes from.

Mr. Croft, your concerns are just the tip of the iceberg.

John Ossowski, Soldotna

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