The two year Guemes evening ferry trial, which was due to expire this month, has been extended to the end of the year by the County Commissioners.
The County Commissioners voted Monday to extend the controversial weekday evening ferry runs to Guemes Island for six more months.
The resolution the Commissioners approved said "adopting a new temporary schedule through the summer will provide time for the reviews and comment necessary for any decision on a permanent schedule to take place."
As a result, the ferry schedule will include five round-trip runs after 6 pm Monday-Thursday, just as it has been for the two year trial period. Commissioners indicated they will approve any permanent changes to the Guemes ferry schedule by the end of this year.
After the vote, the preservation group Friends of Guemes Island said, in a statement to the Commisioners, “we believe that the action you have just taken is in direct violation of the court order issued in the lawsuit between FGI and the county by the Superior Court in Snohomish County.”
A judge had ruled that evening runs beyond the two-year trial would require a environmental impact study, called a SEPA review. The County completed an environmental assessment last month which said the added runs have not let to increased development on the island.
But, the Friends statement added “unless and until the county completes studies that define the capacities of the island’s sole source aquifer and the impact of growth on this limited resource, no environmental review of the impacts of growth caused by late ferry operations will be complete or credible.”