from JOHN STARK of THE BELLINGHAM HERALD/Article – April 13, 2011
Lummi Island ferry talks postponed one week
A negotiating session on a new lease for the Lummi Island ferry dock, scheduled for Wednesday, April 13, was postponed for one week.
Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen said County Council members wanted more time to consider their options as talks move forward.
The county’s Whatcom Chief ferry is the lifeline to the mainland for about 900 island residents, but the mainland dock is on the Lummi Reservation. An earlier 25-year lease between the county and the tribe expired in February 2010. After talks on a new deal reached a seeming stalemate, tribal officials notified the county that they expected ferry operations to cease after April 10, 2011.
But last week, tribal and county officials said they were making progress on resolving their differences. Lummi officials agreed to extend the deadline to May 15.
As of this February, the County Council had been offering to pay the tribe $200,000 a year for 25 years, with annual inflation adjustments.
The tribe had asked for additional sums to cover leases of upland acreage next to the dock, as well as millions of dollars in safety and pedestrian improvements in and around the dock.