Friday, April 15, 2005

Price of airport to be Silver Creek?

Reviving a review of a site for a new airport in the Bellevue Triangle is an expensive and impractical pacifier, intended to silence critics of the site selection process.

Yet, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority gave it a green light—despite its $50,000 to $100,000 price tag. Members of the authority who'd been needled by critics made the decision while in high dudgeon.

It should be patently obvious to anyone with eyes and ears that a site in the Bellevue Triangle is fatally flawed. Its sole attraction is that it lies closest to Sun Valley and Bald Mountain. It is a political and environmental land mine.

Within the site are dozens of expensive, sprawling ranchettes. When the site was first proposed, over a hundred people turned out to object to the transformation of their bucolic spreads into a home for jets. They will surely revive their noisy objections.

Worse, perhaps, would be an airport's effects on world-famous Silver Creek. It would sit above the aquifer that feeds the creek and would be hazardous to its health. The noise of aircraft operations would grievously mar the pristine experience of anglers and others. The damage would negate the millions of dollars of donations to the Nature Conservancy that have protected this national treasure.

And what of the rural landscape that greets visitors who arrive by car or bus?

Airport authority members should adapt an old war-time phrase for use as they deliberate: We should not destroy the Wood River Valley in order to save it.

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