We continue to gather information as quickly as possible to better understand the actions that resulted in tree removals and the construction of a road within the south hill bluff on Parks property, Avista’s utility corridor, and private property on April 10 and 11. This is what we understand to date:
Contracts and Permits
- The City did not receive or authorize a permit request for this work, which would involve property designated as conservation land.
- Parks did not have a bid or contract with the contractor to construct this road, or tree removals at this site. There was no plan, designs or contracts presented to approve.
- Parks issued a tree removal permit to The First Tee of the Inland Northwest for the 6-acre 3-hole youth golf course only.
- The proposed agreement between the City and The First Tee to build a youth course does not contemplate a building of a road along the bluff or tree removal on the road.
- The road work done was outside the scope of the potential agreement and any issued tree permit.
- A Parks arborist was called onsite, to provide guidance to the contractor around which trees were of highest priority to maintain and identify any hazard trees. This was the arborists’ only role.
- The Parks arborist understood the project to be on the Avista easement. A few Parks staff understood that The First Tee would work with Avista to use a tree-free utility corridor to access the 3-hole golf course if built, and that any additional work to build access would be on the Avista easement done in partnership with Avista through permitting.
- Arborists from Parks are frequently called to sites by contractors for guidance, and it is the contractor and project manager’s responsibility to ensure all permits are obtained.
Immediate Next Steps
We are fully committed to working to restore this treasured Parks conservation land. Neither The First Tee nor Avista will make use of this newly-constructed road for their planned projects. We have outlined the following next steps and welcome input.
- Development of interim measures to prevent erosion and other environmental concerns, further damage and trespass.
- Restoration planning and implementation
- Restoration workgroup - a group of experts and stakeholders to participate in restoration plan development. The plan will go through permitting with local and state agencies.
- Agency surveys - the Department of Ecology and Department of Natural Resources were on site today, and will continue to inform the restoration.
- Damage assessment - the parties and an independent consultant are assessing the damage to inform the site restoration efforts and environmental mitigation plans.
- Continued outreach to impacted land owners whose property is part of the road, to the stakeholders and to the larger community.
- Continued investigation into the misunderstandings and miscommunications, and assessment of process changes that should occur. The City intends to determine liability and accountability, and pursue reimbursement for damage and restoration.