The Primary Election will take place on August 2, 2016 in Peninsula Township, Grand Traverse County. Following is a Q&A with Warren Wahl, candidate for Peninsula Township Trustee.
Click here for links to Q&As with all the candidates who’ve responded to our request. To print this Q&A, click the printer icon at the top of this post. To download a sample ballot for Peninsula Township, click here.
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(Editor’s Note: Current Township Supervisor, Pete Correia, did not respond to our request for a Q&A).
Why are you running for the position of Township Trustee for Peninsula Township, and what qualifications will you bring to the role?
I am running for Township Trustee because I believe that I can make a difference in bettering this community for future generations, fiscally and socially. I am qualified to be a trustee because I have sound ethical values that reflect this community’s own values. Furthermore, I am a practicing attorney in Northern Michigan and can use my resources and knowledge of the law to ensure that myself, and this board, are operating effectively and appropriately under the law.
What is your vision for Peninsula Township in 10, 20, 50 years? Do you support maintaining the rural character of the Old Mission Peninsula?
I plan to work diligently with the Township Board to establish set goals for Peninsula Township. These goals will include setting a budget, planning for the future, reviewing the Master Plan every five years as mandated, and keeping the community informed to the best of our abilities. I strongly support maintaining rural character, but am not opposed to regulated growth that follows the Master Plan and zoning ordinances.
Do you support large scale developments such as “The 81,” a development bordering Boursaw Road that includes 41 home sites and up to 40 boat slips in East Bay? Why or why not?
I support developments that follow the Master Plan and zoning ordinances. It is not for me to individually decide the Master Plan and zoning ordinances, but us as a community.
Much controversy is currently surrounding the Peninsula Fire Department, including resignations from the Fire Board, unionization of the fire department, discussion about the sale of fire equipment (including the Safe Boat), and discussion about the fire department being absorbed into Traverse City, with Peninsula Township contracting for those services. Do you support maintaining a strong and independent fire department in Peninsula Township? Why or why not? If yes, what steps will you take to ensure that?
I strongly support maintaining an independent fire department. Peninsula Township’s fire department is as much a part of this community as I am. Most of the firefighters live and work here. My hope is that we can revive the Peninsula Township fire department to what it used to be.
TCAPS has recommended closing Old Mission Peninsula School (OMPS) at the end of the 2018 school year, with Old Mission children attending Eastern Elementary School going forward. This would also necessitate the Peninsula Community Library finding a new home. However, an anonymous Old Mission Peninsula resident has pledged $800,000+ to help keep OMPS open. Do you support keeping OMPS open? Why or why not?
I support keeping OMPS open. In fact, it is one of the main reasons that my fiancé and I moved out to Old Mission Peninsula. We plan on starting a family and having our children attend OMPS, as their mother did.
A Bowers Harbor Park expansion is currently in the works, with a committee meeting regularly to move this project forward. What is your vision for this expansion? Would you like to see a more family-friendly park, with new play structures? Or would you rather see a more passive park, with additional walking trails and improvements to the current play structures?
As someone planning on starting a family, I am not opposed to family-friendly parks. However, it is more prudent to improve what is already there than to create something from scratch.
How would you engage Peninsula Township residents in the decision-making process at the Township level? How will you ensure community transparency in finances, meetings and decisions?
A community newsletter would be a great start. This will help educate the residents of current issues. In addition, improvements to the current Township’s website could help promote communication, transparency, and provide the necessary documents that residents need to be fully informed.
Anything else you’d like to convey to residents of Peninsula Township?
Peninsula Township is more than a destination. It is our home. And if this place matters as much to you as it does to me, I hope that you will scrutinize the candidates, both incumbents and challengers. Do not stand idly by on August 2, 2016. Stand up and be counted. Know that you made your voice heard and that together we can rebuild this community!
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb