As a member of the Haines Heli-ski Working Group, I want to share some thoughts. People need to know that the ordinance before the assembly is not a consensus product of our group.

One positive thing that came from the process was that, with few exceptions, the meetings had a courteous tone. Respectful discourse is a must for Haines to move forward as a community.

However, the group was not balanced. We had three members with a direct financial stake. Because of this imbalance, the group had a pro-heli-skiing bias that was going to make compromise difficult.

Although our group was based on a consensus model, we did not come to consensus on the majority of the substantive issues before the group including number of heli-ski companies, number of skier days and changes to the boundaries of the ski map.

Instead of rushing to make huge changes to the current heli-ski management, we should back away from the present ordinance and make only the changes that were agreed upon in consensus by the working group. I suggest we slow down, implement the GPS and collect baseline data. We can use the data and a history of compliance to move forward incrementally and rebuild trust between community members and the heli-ski industry.

The Mayor should reconvene a working group with a more balanced composition. The meeting should be run by an impartial, professional facilitator and should take place over the course of a full year.

Joe Ordonez