Ediz Hook boat launch solution could be costly

PA City: Six floats are in water for halibut season

PORT ANGELES — Solving the shortage of Ediz Hook boat launch floats will be a lengthy and expensive process, a crowd of more 30 people — including virtual attendees — was told during the public comment session of Tuesday’s Port of Port Angeles commissioners meeting.

“I knew this was going to come up. It’s going to take a lot of people. A lot of agencies are involved. And a lot of the decisions aren’t up to the port or the city,” said Tim Tucker, operational manager for the city of Port Angeles’ Parks and Recreation Department.

“We will have docks there for halibut season. We promise to milk them as much as we can. We don’t have enough money to do every single thing,” he said.

Halibut season begins April 4 in marine areas stretching from Sekiu and Pillar Point throughAdmiralty Inlet and into the Seattle-Bremerton Area.

Port commissioners invited Port Angeles officials to Tuesday’s meeting since the Ediz Hook boat launch is operated by the city.

Tucker said the seawall removal was done by the U.S. Navy and he was mortified when it happened.

The human-made seawall protecting the Ediz Hook boat launch dated from the 1920s. It had been collapsing due to disrepair and was removed as part of the Navy’s Transit Protection System pier installed in 2017.

Corey Delikat, the city’s parks and recreation director, couldn’t attend the meeting but responded to an email request.

“Currently, we have six floats at the hook that we feel comfortable putting back into the water for the start of the season. Of the 14 we removed from the hook, nine of these floats are not salvageable and we will use for very limited parts.

“The other five are in OK condition and we will use as backups to the six that we plan on starting the season with.”

Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer said replacing the boat launches is a matter of permitting, planning and funding. Permitting can involve six or seven agencies and take up to 18 months, she said.

Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais said in response to several suggestions that the East Boat Haven docks were condemned in 2010.

“It’s not a possibility,” she said.

Port Commissioner Steve Burke said, “Tourism is a real good argument. I encourage you to go to the city and the council,” he said, adding the city’s lodging taxes are available specifically for just this sort of project.

The meeting’s early comment session is limited to 20 minutes, allowing only seven speakers, who touted fishing’s economic impact and the need to protect the boat launches and wondered why this issue wasn’t anticipated earlier.

Puget Sound Anglers and Port Angeles Salmon Club member Robert Beausoleil said this town had timber mills from one end to the other and that revenue was foremost with fishing second.

“If we shut down the fishing, we’ll lose more money that this town sorely needs and I don’t know how we would recover from that. It is a terrible mistake. Everyone will take a financial hit that will be more than the repairs.”

Steve Morgan said he worked at the Puget Sound Pilots Station for 37 years and he knew there were going to be problems when the sea wall and the fish pens were removed.

The pilings are there. The westerlies beat the hell out of them. The fish pens are gone. They protected a lot. They knew it was coming. They should have planned ahead,” he said.

Bob Heck from the Puget Sound Anglers said the fishing in this area is unique because it includes numerous fish and other species.

“We need Ediz Hook and the harbor needs enclosed seawalls. Storms can blow up real quickly. John Wayne Marina has one,” he said.

“I hope something can be done short-term. I hope the city sees the advantage in that. It would be a win for everyone.”

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@peninsuladailynews.com.

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