Kirk Welstad, Minot
I attended the Ward County Planning Commission meeting the night of Sept. 9 and have been wondering since, "What just happened?"
There were a good number of people who attended the meeting to hear about and see what was going to take place with regard to the proposed man camp housing 300 to 400 workers, going in west of Burlington. A petition was handed in with 270-plus signatures on it in opposition to the camp's location. A number of people in attendance voiced concerns and asked questions, most of which were not answered. For example, who is the company actually putting in the man camp? What is being done about turn and merge lanes on Highway 2? The above-ground sewage storage tanks, how is the sewage being handled and what municipality is going to accept 12,000 to 17,000 gallons of waste two to three times per week? Does an Environmental Impact Study need to be done? What is going to be done with the county road? This is a school bus route and farm-to-market road with a blind curve in it (dangerous to start with, now add potential of 300 plus more vehicles) between Highway 2 and the main or bigger area of the man camp. How long will this temporary housing be here? Who will be providing emergency response services? Why is this not going in one of the two industrial parks in Minot where there is existing infrastructure to handle this many units and people? Who is responsible for the expense of these types of issues?
In reference to the question of who is putting in the camp, "I can't tell you who is putting in the camp" from Mr. Judice is all we got. Not even close. We the people, who have made our homes and livelihoods in this county for years, are supposed to take the word of a entrepreneur (Ken Judice) from out of state that "trust me, it is one of the best companies I have seen" to build this man camp. There was talk of a theater and work-out area. Nowhere on the submitted architect's plan does it show these buildings, and this is good enough for the planning commission to vote unanimously in favor of recommending approval to the county commissioners? I don't think so. And for Carroll Erickson to make a statement about the petition signatures: "Well, most of these are from Minot." Just where exactly do you live, Carroll, and what elected position do you hold? Where do you suppose the majority of people who voted for you live? How is it that the concern of so many people seems to have fallen on deaf ears? What just happened?
This issue goes before the full commission Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. at the Ward County Courthouse and I would hope that the people's voice can be heard that day.
Those of us interested in this matter, living in Ward County, expect that all the questions get answered, especially those that concern public safety and welfare.