Aaron Walker: Bears And Parking Lots


Candidate for County Council

I must start this off by giving a very sincere thank you to all the residents that supported me in various ways to ensure I made it on the ballot. Without the help of people sharing my posts, gathering signatures, e-mailing me to sign my petition, and voicing their encouragement I wouldn’t have qualified for the ballot. Every single one of your signatures, comments, and e-mails made a difference. Now the real hard work begins.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss two issues with members of the community not as a candidate, but as a member of the Community Development Advisory Board. These two issues are not new but are seeing a rise in popularity. I wanted to take some time to discuss them as a candidate.

The first issue was the White Rock Smith’s parking lot. If any of you frequent this store, you know that the parking lot is a perfect place to have eggs broken, soda shaken, and other somewhat minor inconveniences. Recently someone fell in the parking lot after the wheel of their shopping cart got stuck by one of the many “divots” in the parking lot.  This was the tipping point for a lot of people, as it was now obviously a safety hazard. I whole-heartedly agree and I think this may be a good opportunity to look at how the county can ensure that commercial parking lots are safe for people to traverse without worrying about injuring themselves. I have long been an advocate for a “health and safety” focus to the nuisance code, and I feel that this fits perfectly in that envelope. To me, this seems like an easy fix to the nuisance code that won’t negatively affect private residents in any way. I have been in contact with CDD regarding the issue, and they should be following up with Smith’s sometime this week.

The second issue that has come up was bears. This became a hot topic again due to the mother bear and three cubs having to be relocated recently. There is now a petition going around asking for the county to take measures to prevent the feeding of bears from our trash cans, bird feeders, and other easy sources of food. I have signed this petition and think that our community and county must do more to protect the wildlife that we coexist with here in the mountains. While I am not on board with all the provisions of the petition, I think it is a perfect starting point for discussing how we can all do better. I think it is extremely important for the county to obtain bear-resistant trash cans for all residents. Ideally, this could occur over a 3 to 5 year phased approach with the most bear-prone areas getting their carts first. This will be a large investment but could addressed in a variety of different ways that will need to be heavily discussed.

The beauty of these two topics is that they are still very early in discussions and talks within our community. This means that the solutions to these two problems can take the shape of how the community wants them. I want to hear your thoughts on these, and other topics so that we can all work together to solve issues our community faces without the county overstepping on private citizens. I believe that a healthy and open discussion can go a long way in earning the trust of the community.