Oct 102010

When I was in the military I was glad I never had to work in Plans, the shop that did all the contingency planning in the Pentagon. Trying to visualize all the possible things that might go sideways can make your head hurt. Military planners are pretty good at thinking though all the scenarios, i.e. what do we do if N.Korea attacks S. Korea or in Venezuela goes after, say, Columbia. At the Wing level I sometimes had the responsibility to maintain and account for the plan documents. There were huge stacks of red softbound books often three inches thick. They made interesting reading and provided lots of detail. Clearly, our military planners did not want to be caught with their pants around their ankles so they pretty much thought of everything. There were plans for events where the possibility of the event occurring was very low.

It’s surprising to me that no Lummi Island group is doing any contingency planning for events that probably could occur, such as the Lummi Tribe barricading the ferry dock on October 15 (or any other date). There seems to be no formal plan to deal with the possibility of the Tribe and the County not reaching an agreement. Likewise, no planning to deal with the contingency of the county going broke and needing to cut costs in radical ways. Or, if the boat just broke for whatever reason.

I haven’t read any discussion about the obvious possibility of losing the Gooseberry parking lot two years from now although it appears clear that Lummi Nation has plans for that property. If passengers or drydockers had to take a bus to the casino or the freeway to find their car in a parking lot would that change the way anyone looks at Gooseberry Point? No parking on the Gooseberry Point side create contingencies that need to be considered.

Ideally, contingency planning would start with the worst case scenario and work backwards:

1. What would we do if there were no ferry service at all? Mosquito fleet, private operators, barges, amphibious vessels, co-op ferry, etc.etc.

2. What would we do if Gooseberry Pt is not available and we have to take a passenger ferry to Fairhaven? Island bus, island parking, parking in Fairhaven, car sharing, barge service, hauling services, gasoline storage or fuel manufacture on island, services, etc. etc.

3. What would we do if there is no parking at Gooseberry Pt and we have to bus to the Casino? Shelters, buses, car sharing.

I don’t have the answers; just questions. There are many more scenarios to consider such as: If we were to have a general economic collapse as many are predicting, how accessible do we want the island to be?

Some group or organization ought to be thinking about contingencies. It sort of falls into the realm of disaster preparedness. It also seems to involve protecting the Lummi Island community.


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