The Future of Lummi Island – Planning For What?

Having just entered about 50 years of data on Lummi Island into the ‘Mother of All Spreadsheets’ on Excel, It occurs to me we can easily document what happened to us, but figuring out why is quite a different matter.  Here’s a quick, napkin variety, graph depicting some of what I’m trying to explain.

As you can see,while population is increasing, we’re growing older at astounding rates.  In the last 20 years, we went from an average age of 35 to 55, essentially having retirees displacing working families with children.  What effect will the Baby Boomers have on this in the next 20 years?  Is that another Boom/Bust cycle?

Climate change will effect low lying coastal areas of the Eastern Seaboard much more radically than for us in the Pacific NW, creating something called Climate Change Refugees.  Will they march north-westward with the same determination as the ‘Dust-Bowlers’ did in Los Angeles the ’30s?

More Questions for you to ponder this morning.  Is the dwindling enrollment of the Beach School reversible with the IB program, or will Ferndale School District pull a B&G Club switcheroo on us too?

What part does the ferry play in all this?  The newly forming Ferry Long Range Planning Committee hopes to tackle these questions head on in the coming months to sort out why ridership peaked well before any talks about leases, recession and surcharges.

Ben Frerichs and I will be giving a talk on demographics of Lummi Island at the LICA potluck on September 24th.  I hope to see you there.

Mike Skehan for the Ferry Forum

2 thoughts on “The Future of Lummi Island – Planning For What?

  1. Ferry fares were made ‘friendlier’ to families with kids by eliminating fares for children < 18 (i think it's 18). But we need to make the island family-friendlier by providing services that the B&G club is extracting itself from providing. Sure, island parents need do is pay the ferry fee & have the time to schlep their kids over to ferndale and back to make use of B&G club facilities. I suppose that could work for families with one income, one 'non-working' parent — wonder how many of THOSE there are? I suspect that if we want to run more families with kids off island entirely leaving nothing but geezers & vacationers, one excellent way is to not provide programs on-island for kids, certainly through grade 5 or 6.

    When you and Ben present your democraphic info at LICA (Sept 24), it would be great to determine how many school age kids there are & subtract out the # that go to Beach School so we can see how many homeschoolers there are.

    • Ah!, another column for the spreadsheet. Thanks. As I accepted being Chair of the newly formed LIFAC – Long Range Planning Committee at last nights formation meeting, I’ll be speaking as a private citizen at the Community Association meeting in September and not on behalf of LIFAC.
      Here’s a thought. What if all the part timers become full timers? Island population would nearly double overnight.
      Can our water supply and shore power cable handle the job?
      Dang, that’s two more columns of data.

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