Whidbey Examiner


Storm wreaks havoc on Port of Coupeville floats, wharf

Whidbey Examiner Staff
February 22, 2014 · Updated 2:37 PM

Storm damage has part of Coupeville Wharf closed. / Nathan Whalen photo

Repairs keep piling up for the Port of Coupeville.

The small port district owns the  Coupeville Wharf and the Greenbank Farm, both of which are 100 years old, and repair projects needed to keep the historic buildings safe are adding up.

The latest project emerged last week after a wind storm blew through Whidbey Island. The blustery weather damaged the moorage floats and the deck and moorage tubs located at the Coupeville Wharf.

Estimates to repair the causeway and float deck along with the moorage tubs at the Coupeville Wharf could be $18,000, officials said. Of that amount, $7,000 of the bill covers materials.

Port of Coupeville executive director Tim McDonald said the port has to purchase specially treated materials so that chemicals don’t leach into Penn Cove.

McDonald presented a laundry list of problems needing to be addressed.  Commissioners have budgeted $70,464 to spend on construction, repairs and maintenance through 2014.  Several of those projects are currently underway, but some unknowns need to be answered before those projects can be completed, officials said.

What might be a pricey project is updating the sewer system for the Greenbank Farm. The current large onsite sewer system was installed by the farm’s previous owner, Chateau Ste. Michelle, which wanted to use the farm as an event venue. Activities at the farm changed when it passed into public ownership and now it is home to Whidbey Pies. Because the system wasn’t designed to handle such waste products, the state department of health is requiring the port update the farm’s sewer system.

McDonald said that the staff at Whidbey Pies has been successful in trying to work within the limits of the system.

“We hope a minimal amount of food waste is going down the pipes,” McDonald said.

The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville unanimously approved an $11,800 contract with Jensen Engineering to examine and design upgrades to the sewer system.

As to how much those upgrades will cost, McDonald wouldn’t hazard a guess.

“I just cannot take a wild guess on the LOSS estimates until the engineer completes his work,” McDonald said about the sewer system. The port is required by the state department of health to have hired an engineer by April.

Another project currently underway is replacing the concrete fuel floats at the Coupeville Wharf.  That project, which will cost an estimated $84,000, is still going through the permit process. The Army Corp of Engineers and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife have signed off on the project, McDonald said adding he is awaiting endorsements from the state Department of Ecology and the state Department of Natural Resources.

To help pay for the fuel floats, the Port of Coupeville received a $70,000 rural economic development grant.

Another project on the construction, repair and maintenance list include replacing the roof and insulating Barn A at the Greenbank Farm which is estimated to cost $68,000. Then there’s an item calling for the installation of a heat pump for the restaurant and a project concerning the farm’s pump house. Estimates for those projects weren’t yet known.

The Port of Coupeville did receive last year a $335,000 Conservation Futures Fund award from Island County for a conservation easement at the Greenbank Farm.

Commissioner Bill Larsen suggested it may be time to tap into those dollars to pay for the repair projects.

The other commissioners disagreed.  Commissioner Mike Diamanti suggested the Port continue to work with the current construction, repair and maintenance budget as designed.


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