Capitol Lake study needs timely finish

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.

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."