Oak Harbor Pushes Plan for Boatyard to Lease Whidbey Island Parcel
The city of Oak Harbor is working with neighboring Whidbey Island Naval Air Station to promote a boat builder’s proposal to expand its operations onto unused waterfront property at the seaplane base located between Seattle and the Canadian border.
The expansion by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders could add 100 high-paying jobs to the city but a number of hurdles stand in the way. The Navy would only lease the site through an enhanced use lease, meaning the builder would have to win a Navy competition to use the site, reported the Whidbey News Times. And before the Navy could solicit proposals for an enhanced use lease, officials would need to conduct an environmental study to assess a lease’s impact on the historic site.
Now the city is trying to raise funds for the environmental study. The Whidbey Island site would offer the builder access to deep water to pursue contracts for larger boat manufacturing projects.