Assembly cancels Dec. 18 meeting

The Haines Borough Assembly unanimously voted on Tuesday to cancel their Dec. 18 meeting, in a suggestion brought forward by Mayor Jan Hill.

“Typically we only have one meeting in December,” Hill said. “This year, for some reason because of the way Christmas falls, we have a meeting scheduled for the 18th this month.”

Hill said there is nothing time sensitive on the upcoming agenda, and taking off would “allow everybody to enjoy the holidays.”

Assembly member Heather Lende said she’s fine with the adapted schedule, but voiced concern if something comes up once borough manager Debra Schnabel returns on Dec. 10 from her month-long vacation.

“If something comes up in the meantime, we can hold a special meeting,” Hill said. “It’s in the budget.”

The assembly will meet next on Jan. 8.

Library design postponed

The Haines Borough Assembly voted to postpone, until the full assembly is present, the second of two public hearings on okaying a $30,000 design that would add assembly chambers to the library as part of the library’s expansion project.

Assembly members Brenda Josephson and Tom Morphet were excused from Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think it’s a good idea, because everybody needs to be part of that decision,” assembly member Stephanie Scott said.

Scott asked if it would be okay to postpone the vote until the January meeting.

“That will be fine,” borough clerk Alekka Fullerton said. “We will just probably schedule it again for another public hearing on January 8th.”

The assembly also voted to separate the library expansion plan from the rest of the FY19 budget, an idea proposed by Tom Morphet in the Nov. 6 assembly meeting.

Assembly member Heather Lende moved to adopt the section of the budget that doesn’t include the library.

“I think we’ve discussed all of those elements in the past and I’m comfortable with this,” Scott said. The vote passed unanimously.

Guardrail coming to Third Ave. later this month

A $20,300 guardrail will be installed this month along a 300-foot section of hill on Third Avenue, in front of Haines Industrial Supply, in response to public safety concern.

According to Public Facilities director Brad Ryan, “The Third Avenue hill has been an ongoing issue with vehicles sliding off the road and into the ditch.”

Ryan said Haines Industrial Supply cleared the forest next to the hill last summer to make a parking lot, further exposing the ditch.

Fred Gray from Delta Western said when he tried to pull a vehicle out of the gully using a 20-foot strap last winter, “I ended up in the ditch and caused $9,000 worth of damage to a vehicle that I was trying to help.” At the time, he said, there were two other vehicles that had also slid down the embankment.

Gray said the hill has been “historically treacherous” in the winter when it freezes up, causing vehicles driving down it to skate off the road.

Ryan said the cost of the guardrail will come out of the public works fund or the road capital improvement project funds.

Portage Cove Trail design advances for $57,000

The borough assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to pay proHNS $57,000 for the Portage Cove Trail design, funded by the commercial passenger vessel tax.

The design contract will cover three areas: Picture Point, from the harbor to Port Chilkoot Cruise Ship Dock and from the dock to Portage Cove campground.

The borough partnered with Chilkoot Indian Association on a Land and Water Conservation federal grant application this year, requesting $216,000 in matched funding for a project that would connect an ADA-accessible ramp at Tlingit Park to the Harbor Park pavilion, boat launch, sidewalks and Portage Cove Trail.

While the grant is pending until about June, CIA has offered to construct the proHNS-designed portions of the trail.

“We will issue a contract probably this week to proHNS,” Public Facilities director Brad Ryan said. “We’ll hopefully get the design done by early spring then we’ll start with CIA and see when they can come in.”

From there, “They will turn the plan over to us; we’ll pitch in with our building crew and supplies,” said CIA Tribal Administrator Harriet Brouillette.

Brouilette said that CIA has a federal transportation fund they can use for the trail.

“Since we have access to funds that (the Haines Borough) doesn’t have access to, it seems like a good partnership.”

She said that CIA will be able to facilitate “all aspects of trail building” from planning to throwing the dirt down, to maintaining the trail when it’s done.

In 2016, Corvus Design was contracted by the borough to execute conceptual designs for the trail from Picture Point to Portage Cove campground. The conceptual designs were divided into six segments. At the time, Chris Mertl of Corvus Design estimated the entire project to cost around $5.8 million.