May 202011

I’m pleased for everyone who felt their life would be devastated if the Gooseberry Point run had been lost. Some might see the recently announced agreement as a solution. I see it as a reprieve. We missed a big opportunity during the last year and a half. We could have been planning for the contingency of no Gooseberry in our future. Instead, it was “Gooseberry or Bust.” Happily we didn’t go bust.

There’s still going to many problems to deal with. Parking will continue to be an issue on the mainland. It will no doubt be an additional cost (if there is parking). The cost of riding the ferry will have to increase. Peak oil will affect the cost of travel to Bellingham and Ferndale at some point in the future. Let’s face it. Even four dollar gas isn’t much fun. I filled my car and five gallon can the other day and spent $82. If I were in Europe I would have spent $164. Our day to pay the piper is coming. I hope the County has negotiated an “out” clause in the contract.

It’s sometimes hard to notice in Whatcom County with all the Canadians shopping, playing golf and flying out of the BIA (Bellingham International Airport) but the economy, in general, isn’t very good.  One can put a smiley face on it and talk about how cool it is we got Bin Laden but the reality is that things could come crashing down pretty fast. If we show the same “Gooseberry or Bust” attitude toward the other big problems coming at us we just won’t be ready. Where the ferry is concerned we seem, collectively, to have a giant blind spot. With one or two exceptions, no one wanted to have a thoughtful discussion about alternatives, how they might look and what they might mean.

Speaking of the ferry, I hope that PLIC doesn’t turn out to be an ad hoc organization. The name, Protect the Lummi Island Community suggests a broader purpose. I like the name, if not the acronym. There is a definite role for a widely supported group like Protect the Lummi Island Community to play. There are lots of things to think about when we talk about protecting Lummi Island, more things than just regular ferry service. Some of us will continue to talk about them: disaster preparedness, personal preparedness, food security, wellness support, water management, economic opportunity, transportation alternatives, transitioning to a future with less fossil fuel, etc. etc. If you are reading, I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Of course, that has been the theme of this blog from the outset: let’s get prepared, become more self-reliant and self-sufficient. Everything I read about preparedness says that “community,” support networks and friendships are the most important factors in getting through tough times. Lummi Island has proven over and over again that we are way ahead in this department.

And, for a dose of thoughtful reality come listen to Nicole Foss at the Grange on June 2.


  One Response to “Marooned—Not”

  1. Marooned we were not.
    As part of my disaster preparedness work recently, I came up with five different landing craft willing to serve Lummi Is. on short notice. Their cell numbers are safely tucked away. Passenger boats capable of 25 minute trips to Fairhaven are available at times.
    You correctly state the next big hurdle – parking. When daily charges on both sides are added to passenger fares, then it becomes cheaper to drive on than walk on. An empty cabin and long lines for limited deck space mean less revenue, overall. That in turn, drives even higher fares to come up the 55% needed.
    It’s a never ending spiral and certainly not sustainable.
    Dealing with the Port of Bellingham is no picnic either, but at least their commissioners are elected and supposedly represent our interest as they have been cashing Lummi Islands revenue checks for many years now, with nothing in return. Tribal Council? Not so much.
    I’ll believe it’s a deal when the fat lady sings. Right now she’s just clearing her throat.

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