O’Ban anticipates environmental-cleanup funds for Chambers Creek will produce strong return on investment

The dilapidated 400-foot pier in University Place’s Chambers Creek will soon be removed thanks to a $2.5 million appropriation from the state’s new capital budget, which was approved Saturday.

Sen. Steve O’Ban said the money will be used to remove and cleanup the abandoned wood dock and the 200 creosote pilings anchoring the old pier in place. The structure, known to most as the “Old North Dock,” is more than 100 years old and was used to ship locally mined sand and gravel until 2000; however, it has degraded to the point that it is now a significant hazard to the environment as well as recreational and marine traffic around the South Puget Sound.

“Chambers Creek is located on one of the Puget Sound’s longest publicly accessible shorelines – 2.5 miles long,” said O’Ban, R-Pierce County. “By cleaning up the old pier, not only will aquatic life be protected, but it will enable safe public access, and use of the beach and surrounding water.

“The $2.5 million will be money well spent; I think Pierce County will truly see a return on investment as the Chambers Bay golf course prepares to host the U.S. Open golf tournament in June 2015. I think we will see a large boost in tourism dollars and anything that we can do to protect our environment and support the economy is a good thing in my book.”

“We are thankful for Senator O’Ban’s role in securing this important funding,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “This state investment represents a significant step as we continue developing Chambers Creek Regional Park into a world-class recreation destination.”

O’Ban said the appropriation for the pier removal is part of an overall $8.3 million “master site” project, which includes the construction of a new viewing and fishing pier and a floating moorage.