Here’s the audio of the Public Works (PW) report to the County Council about the Hiyu option, based on the marine engineering consultants’ feasibility and cost reports to the County.Based on those reports, PW and Jack Louws’ recommended not bidding on the HIYU.
Council members had many questions and comments. Jim Dickinson, island resident, questioned differences between his group’s information and costs that marine engineering consultant reports estimated. He requested a special meeting with Public Works to ‘work things out,’ supported by Greg Brown (LIFAC member).
Louws questioned the increasing cost ( ~$10,000) of prolonging the investigation of the Hiyu, another half-century old ferry like the Chief. Initially he was optimistic about the M/V HIYU having minimal costs, but changed his mind after reading the reports — even if final cost was only a quarter of the consultant estimates. He prefers to move forward and spend taxpayer funds and staff time on replacing the Chief with a new ferry. Long-term population planning for Lummi Island is needed to determine the ‘right sized’ new ferry. Louws and the Council want LIFAC to be strongly involved in that planning. In the meantime, Louws thinks the TREK might be an appropriate second ferry option.
Louws commented on opportunities to work with Lummi Nation on the new marina and build/rebuild of LI and Gooseberry terminals and new ferry. The next step is to see if they can apply jointly for TIGER (Transportation Information Generating Economic Recovery) federal grant funds.