Nancy Ging posted the following on the Ferry Forum site. I’m going to re-post it here to make sure everyone sees it.
Lots of interesting ideas and the beginning of planning for energy descent.
“I’ve been trying to ponder our ferry problems from a long-term perspective, trying to see what direction might be appropriate for us to aim to avoid future situations like our current predicament. From a long-term view, it seems to me that a big part of the severely limited alternatives we are currently dealing with comes down to infrastructure inadequacies.
At present, we don’t have any regular way to get necessary supplies to the Island except in our private cars. The only barge landing belongs to a private business (the quarry). It is frequently unavailable because it’s in use, and it has poor road access to the rest of the Island. There’s no place that I know of on the east side of the Island to even beach a landing craft and be able to get a truck or pallets off it and up to a road. We have no protected small boat harbor facilities, and we have no way to safely land passenger and vehicle boats on the same days.
Public transit service is woefully inadequate from Gooseberry to town. The schedule is impossible for commuters who work normal business hours, and buses are not practical for people who need to haul the amount of groceries and other necessary supplies from town that our households do.
I think we Islanders need to do some serious thinking about alternatives and what infrastructure we need in order to have more options for meeting our needs. For instance, maybe we need a couple of commuter vans–just for ferry riders–to get people to and from their work places morning and night. Maybe we need a shopping/errands bus with luggage/storage space to make regular and frequent trips from Gooseberry to Costco, the Co-op, Hardware Sales, the mall, a few banks, and the medical district–in other words, places where Islanders frequently do business. Perhaps these could be done as a co-operative to reduce costs? Or maybe there’s a business opportunity if the Co-op and Costco would agree to put together phoned in orders and someone with a truck could regularly swing by to pick them up and deliver the orders on the Island, thus allowing a single truck trip to replace a couple dozen or more individual car trips.
Maybe we need a way for Island food producers to band together in some sort of co-operative arrangement (similar to Whatcom Grows, for example) to deliver weekly produce/egg/meat/poultry boxes to Island customers.
Maybe we need to put together some seed money and classes to help more Islanders become commercial food producers so we don’t have to haul so many groceries from town in the first place.
I’ve heard people are already working on what might be done regarding on-Island medical services. I hope that’s going well.
Maybe we need a place on the east shore where a landing craft could offload a truck and get up to the road with goods or service vehicles. Maybe we need to purchase shared cars to leave in town so we can get to town in a van as a group, then individually pick up a cooperatively owned car to do our errands, dropping off our purchased goods off at a private warehouse (with cold storage) where a truck, barge or landing craft would deliver the accumulated goods once or twice a week to the Island. Another business opportunity?
Given that the economy is continuing to tank, property values are continuing to decline (giving the County less to contribute), fuel prices are continuing to rise, etc.–given all this, the cost of our vehicle ferry seems highly likely to continue to increase for the foreseeable future. It just seems sensible to me that we begin to look for ways to get our needs met closer to home in a way that requires fewer vehicle trips to town and allows us to begin to move toward greater reliance on a smaller, less expensive passenger-only ferry.
I’m not saying that any of the options above are viable or should be pursued. I have no idea what would work. And I’m not saying I’m happy about any of this. I do think the handwriting is on the wall, though. Things are as they are.
I hope we’ll do some creative brainstorming soon about how we can get by comfortably with much fewer vehicle trips to town in the future. I look forward to seeing what we can come up with.”
It’s my impression that there is a lot of horsepower on this island and I’m not talking about cars or horses. We haven’t needed to be self-sufficient or think about operating in a sustainable way. That’s why I can make the argument that the ferry crisis, if you are willing to look at it from a long-term view, was a gift to the island. There’s no question that we’d all enjoy and probably prefer continuing cheap rides to Gooseberry Point in our private passenger vehicle with or without a passenger and paying up to $3 a gallon for gas forever and ever. That’s just not going to be the case. We need to begin taking some serious action and giving serious thought to all the “what ifs.”
The gift is that it forces us to get real and think about and begin planning for contingencies. Way too many people are going to be caught with their pants around their ankles. Lummi Island has a chance to get ahead of the (declining power) curve.
So, back to the horsepower—there’s an amazing amount of talent on this island and I’m positive that more and more great ideas will be generated. Keep them coming.