The County Commissioners have set a public hearing on the weekday evening Guemes ferry runs for Nov. 25. The county Public Works Department is expected to summarize the two-year extended service trial period at the same meeting.
The Public Works department is proposing that the extended service be made permanent on Jan. 1. The proposal came in a memorandum from James Voetberg, Public Works Director and County Engineer dated Oct. 31.
"The Skagit County Public Works Department proposes a non-project action making the current temporary ferry run schedule for the Guemes Island Ferry permanent, effective January 1, 2009."
Friends of Guemes Island, in a statement said "We are shocked, disappointed and dismayed. Now is the time to make one last effort to have our voices be heard." The group is urging intense lobbying of the County Commissioners to get them to not accept the Public Works director's proposal.
"The alternative of late runs during the summer months is a viable option that increases access to the island during the peak season but doesn't as seriously jeopardize the island's aquifer or environment," the Friends of Guemes Island added.
The Skagit Valley Herald says the Board of Commissioners is anticipated to put off deciding until Dec. 9.
In July of 2006, the County Commissioners launched a two-year trial period with Mon.-Thurs. evening ferry runs between 6:30 and 10:00 pm. Prior to the trial, there were no runs after 6:00 pm.