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County Council Member Says Central Wasatch Commission Is Worth Price Of Admission

Mountain Accord

The Central Wasatch Commission, formerly known as Mountain Accord, has a meeting coming up next week.

Summit County’s representative in that group, Council Member Chris Robinson, said he thinks it’s good to have a seat at the table. On Wednesday, he asked his colleagues about the county putting up another financial contribution for Central Wasatch’s next fiscal year.

Robinson told KPCW that the county has contributed $50,000 a year to the Wasatch/Accord process for the past three years. That’s a small amount compared to the annual $100,000 from Park City and $200,000 from Salt Lake City.

We asked him what Summit County gets for its role in the Central Wasatch group. He said, first of all, there’s the prospective federal designation that can protect important areas of the Wasatch range.

“There’s almost 1,000 acres in Summit County that drop over into the monitors above Park City Mountain and Canyons Village,” Robinson explained. “These lands that are coveted for backcountry skiing and disperse recreation. I’m eager to participate in making sure that protection is in place.”

He said there are some significant environmental values at stake.

“There are water shed values to Park City and the Snyderville Basin from the Central Wasatch as a lot of Park City’s water comes from leases of water rights owned by Salt Lake City corporation come from the Central Wasatch,” Robinson said. “As we move forward into a potential Olympic bid, they’ll be a lot of attention brought on the area on the whole project area for the Central Wasatch which includes the Snyderville Basin.”

Finally, though it’s more intangible, Robinson said it’s helpful to build relationships among the governmental stakeholders.

“The Central Wasatch has been a forum for the local government leaders and the head of UDOT on the Wasatch Front/Back on a regular basis,” Robinson continued. “Mayor of Salt Lake City, Mayor of Salt Lake County, the mayors of Cottonwood Heights, Millcreek, and representatives of Sandy and the head of UDOT to have a forum to discuss issues and things. I think those relationships are valuable. What it’s worth to the county I can’t put a dollar figure on it but I think it’s good to have a seat at the table and I think that we should pay our fair share, whatever that is.”

Robinson anticipates the council will have a work session soon on the $50,000 contribution. If they agree, the county may look to amending its budget or dipping into a contingency fund.

He said the Central Wasatch is hoping for some long-term funding, but that’s off in the future.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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