To the Board of Directors of Pen Met Parks:
My husband and I visit the fishing pier often to walk the paved trail with our pets when it is too muddy to hike anywhere else. It is one of our two favorite spots on the island; the other being the DeMolay Sandspit (commonly known as Bella Bella to us islanders).
One Sunday morning, we were the second car visiting the Fishing Pier. Another vehicle was in the lot without occupants when we parked. We walked down the path to the pier and back up when a young couple with a small baby were heartbroken after a walk to the beach to find their car windows smashed in a car prowl in the 15-20 minutes they walked the beach. My heart broke as dad tried to clean the glass shards from the baby’s car seat. Mom was on the phone trying to reach their insurance agent. Glass was everywhere in and around the car. Mom was teary and told us this was why they left Seattle. She never thought she would have to deal with that here as she did in the city.
I pleaded with her to file a police report and to call PenMet to complain. At that time there were no cameras for security as well as no park host. I wrote my own email to PenMet maintenance and PenMet leadership. I got a quick response from Maintenance who did come out and clean up the next morning and installed a camera on the restroom roof. Unfortunately, that camera only faced the gate, not the parking lot. I wrote a subsequent email that their solution was not adequate protection for visitors. They came out and installed a second camera that still does not cover the entire lot. There are still no signs about the property being under surveillance to deter crime and still the entire parking lot is not under camera surveillance.
I understand that PenMet cannot stop crime, but they certainly can deter it better than just two cameras on top of the restroom that do not adequately capture the parking lot. Signage is needed both on the gates and in the park. I still can’t get that picture of the baby’s car seat full of glass out of my head. And, by the way, there was nothing of value in the car for the prowlers to take.
Also, we have stopped attending PenMet activities. We have two grandboys that love sports. However, the chaotic nature of signups, practice, and games etc., and other activities that PenMet opens for children is always in chaos. Long lines, coaches who have no clue, no background checks to qualify working with children and no experience for their paid employees and volunteers. Camps are simply out of the question for us. Some areas where children take in activities have no first aid available and no qualified employees trained to use it. No CPR training for employees either. As an educator, I find this lack of regard for children’s safety appalling. I was told PenMet had bats living at Rosedale Hall. No extermination, no cleaning of droppings, mold in areas with children’s activities at other locations, etc. It is heartbreaking to see the disregard for children’s health and safety.
As far as the DeMolay Sandspit, the condemned house still stands. When asked if it will be removed, again a serious health and safety issue for children, I was told it was “on the schedule”. It has been “on the schedule” for the last five years if not longer! With no park host, again there is little intended care of minding the nature preserve in its natural environment. Driftwood is being used to sculpt forts and such where children may be hurt from falling timber. The broken seawall is yet another issue that was “on the schedule” for repair. Again, nothing has occurred since we moved here in 2017. All in all, I have no confidence in PenMet leadership that these items will be fixed. The health and safety of children and other visitors, the lack of training and background checks of anyone working with children, the cleanliness of all buildings that house children and lack of organization in children’s activities is paramount as are the safety concerns not adequately addressed in Pen Met Parks (especially on Fox Island where I live).