The lake vs. estuary debate continues to divide this community as it has divided the committee assigned to decide whether to leave man-made Capitol Lake as it is, or remove the Fifth Avenue dam and let the lake revert to a marine estuary.
The lake oversight committee has spent $1.1 million to do a study on the estuary option - its benefits and its disadvantages. Committee co-chair and Tumwater councilman Neil McClanahan thought it only reasonable to get the same assessment on the lake option. He went to the Legislature this year and got a $500,000 appropriation inserted in the budget to study the pros and cons of maintaining the lake as a reflecting pond for the Capitol dome.
It was the right approach because committee members will have, as a state senior manager said, "an apples to apples comparison."
Now the committee members are squabbling over the proposed 22-month timeline for the lake study, saying it's too tight.
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We agree with McClanahan who told his colleagues on the lake management committee, "We've been dinking around with this for 10 years. It's time to get it done."