I am Westley Shook and I am running for the Bluff Service Area (BSA) board. I have spent the last 45 years working in wildfire emergency management. I attended BYU, the U of U, and instructed at the community college level. I instructed national fire courses throughout the country. I have been coming to this part of the state since the 70’s and volunteered at Natural Bridges for 18 months in 2008-2010 before retiring here with my wife, Carol, in 2010.
The current Service Board is comprised of 2 business owners and another business representative of the Bluff Fort along with two residents of Bluff. The community has been divided more than once, as it is now, over the water rights issue. I think that in most cases, this division can be attributed to the business owners of Bluff (BOB’s) interests conflicting with the interests of the residents of Bluff (ROB’s). I want to represent the residents.
The business owners of Bluff (BOBs) on the Board currently want to surrender the water rights to the Bluff Water Service District, a county-appointed board, of whom 3 are business owners and at least one is a county employees. I am against this surrender until such time that it is shown to be advantageous to the Bluff Service Area. Since the Water District is county-appointed, the residents of Bluff (ROB’s) will not have a say on what will happen with the water. In the past the water district has provided excellent service and at a reasonable cost. The district’s geographical boundaries are not the same, so the Water District could use water to provide services outside of the Service Area, including all types of development. The BSA has held off holding a vote until they get another member of the business community on the board. I hope to represent the ROB’s and maintain our water rights.
Issues that face the community are wide-ranging. Some that I see as important are: the Community Center, light pollution, the use of volunteers to accomplish BSA required projects, and possible incorporation. Also, when the new school is built, what will happen to the present facilities? By using Design Bluff, VISTA volunteers and local college resources, we could come up with a new master plan for the community. I believe that with the designation of wildlands on the Cedar Mesa, Bluff will be the gateway to the area and have a greater ability to become a headquarters of the area.
All politics are local. I am not against the BOB’s, I just wish that they would consider how their decisions effect the ROB’s. I hope that the residents of Bluff will vote for a ROB in this upcoming election.