Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Harbor project Q&A scheduled


Haines Borough public facilities director Brad Ryan will lead a presentation and field questions about the Small Boat Harbor expansion project at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at the library.

“What I am hoping to give to the community is: This is where we are at, (and) this is where we are going,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he is looking for public feedback on future phases of the project, such as the movement of Lookout Park, the drive-down ramp and the configuration of the parking lot. As far as the controversial steel wave barrier and other elements of Phase 1 are concerned, comments on those items likely won’t go very far, he said.

“We’re not changing that at this point aside from the assembly voting to change the 95 percent design,” Ryan said.

The assembly in April voted 4-2 to approve the harbor expansion project’s 95 percent design documents.

Harbormaster Shawn Bell echoed Ryan’s sentiment. “This is not to discuss changes to the harbor expansion, because that is permitted. That is done. We’d be putting ourselves in bad shape if we backpedaled on that,” Bell said.

Ryan said he and Bell have been brainstorming ideas to cut costs, and Ryan wants to pitch some of those ideas at the town hall to gauge public sentiment.

“Do we want a paved parking lot? I’m looking at it saying, I don’t know why we would. Why pave it if it’s just a bunch of money we don’t want to put in?” Ryan said. “If the community wants a paved parking lot, I’d like to know that. I’m not really interested in it.”

Another possibility is cutting the two-lane sportfish ramp to one lane.

“(We have been) kicking around the idea of what if we get a single lane? Are the two lanes that important to us, or are we able to make that one lane that much better?” Bell said.

Ryan said he understands the Port and Harbor Advisory Committee wants a two-lane ramp, but a single lane could save money and space.

“We’re trying to get the best project we can without the community having to come up with a bunch of money,” Ryan said.

Ryan is hoping to gauge public sentiment on moving Lookout Park, as it has appeared to shift.

“I want to move Lookout Park. I think it would be a lot cooler if we put it out on the water,” he said. “There were a lot of voices at first that said, ‘Move Lookout Park.’ Now a lot of people are saying, ‘Don’t move Lookout Park.’”

The launch ramp will be primarily funded by a Fish and Game grant, Bell said, and if moving Lookout Park meant a safer area for pedestrians and those launching their boats, those funds could be legitimately applied toward that part of the project.

“We’re just trying to think if there is a better way to spend it to get what the community best wants and best needs,” Bell said.

The borough currently has its Army Corps 404 and 408 permits in hand, and PND Engineers will start preparing the bid documents soon, Ryan said.

Ryan said he wants to issue a separate Request for Proposals for the proposed waterfront trail and movement of Lookout Park. He hopes to have a draft RFP ready by the June 29 meeting.

“I think there will be some people that will be upset about things, for sure. I hope they’re not too mean,” he said. “I want people to show up and provide constructive input on how to make this the best harbor we can.”


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