As Cargo Ramp Repairs Continue, Haines Borough Votes Early Phases of Lutak Dock Redevelopment Plan | Radio KHNS
The Lutak Dock redevelopment plan was at the center of the Haines Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday evening, with the public weighing in for and against the new phased approach. As Corinne Smith of KHNS reported, last week the Alaska Marine Lines leased taxiway partially sank, and the incident added to the intensity of public debate.
Representatives from Alaska Marine Lines said they are still investigating why the Haines haulage ramp partially sunk last week at Lutak Dock. AML’s Adam Andersen told the Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday that repairs to the ramp reservoir were underway.
“We met with our operations and maintenance staff to fix a few holes that we discovered when we straightened the tank and go to do some welding. “
Andersen said they expect work to continue next week. He said the damage had not interfered with this week’s barge delivery, but the company is coordinating with the harbor master to create a back-up plan for the cargo delivery.
“If there was a problem, I asked if we could use the pass-pass operation, adjacent to the new ramp that was built,” Andersen said. “And to see if that’s a possibility.”
But the failure of the ramp has added to the intensity of the debate around Lutak Dock’s phased redevelopment plan. It has been agreed that the wharf needs renovations, but how the estimated $ 30 million project is funded and how it will be used is up for debate.
Members of the public weighed in at Tuesday night’s meeting:
Eric Holle: “We need more public comment from all stakeholders, which includes all residents. And not just those who promote a particular economic agenda. Or fish for what could be an economic opportunity to pie in the sky. ”
Diane Lapham: “Haines is strategically placed for inland freight transportation. And we have to use it. We have it at our fingertips. If we don’t all come together and start planning and talking, with the intention of moving forward, not beach landings, this community will die. People will move away.
Shannon Donahue: “Where’s the process? How does the Assembly envision a resolution in favor of starting the initial phases of a four-phase alternative without seeing plans or cost estimates for all phases. How can we talk about phases 1 and 2 without talking about phases 3 and 4?
Jerry Ashcraft: “So I’m asking you to pass this resolution, because I’m also looking to build businesses here for the community. But if I can’t get my product out, or if I have to worry about losing it or something, why invest? “
Phase 1 of the Lutak quay redevelopment plan consists of filling the tidelands adjacent to the existing ramp. Phase 2 consists of demolishing the old wharf and installing a partition. Both phases are estimated cost $ 26 million.
Many residents have expressed concern over the Assembly’s vote on a resolution to support the redevelopment plan ahead of several other scheduled meetings at town hall, citing a lack of public participation. Thus, Assembly Member Caitlin Kirby introduced an amendment to support only the finalization of the plan and the demolition of the wharf.
The final two phases would develop the highlands above the wharf for more space, but details of the improvements and uses are yet to be determined.
The borough voted 5-1 on this amendment, with Assembly member Carol Tuynman voting against. She said the wharf renovation, or phase 2, should be funded and prioritized first.
The Assembly will also have to finance the project. Haines Borough is considering borrowing from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (known as AIDEA), a development arm of the state that often funds mining and development projects.
But Haines resident Jessica Sachta spoke out against the idea.
“This small borough might not go into debt with AIDEA for untold millions of dollars to develop a mining port, at 3.5% interest,” said Sachta. “A professional mining analyst in the Yukon tells me there are no pending mines for the proposed mining port of Haines. A few possible mines are in their infancy, but most mines never go into production. And the mines that are in production already have more convenient ports at Hyder and Skagway. “
The next town hall on the future of Lutak Dock is scheduled to be held Thursday at 6.30 p.m. via Zoom. Details are on the Haines Borough Calendar.