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

Staff to research 'green' harbor parking lot


September 26, 2019

On Sept. 10, the Haines Borough Assembly unanimously directed the manager to explore the possibility of making the Portage Cove boat-launch parking lot ecofriendly.

“At the Friday meeting of the James Corner (Field Operations) presentation it became known to me there exists such a thing as a green parking lot,” assembly member Tom Morphet said. “That every parking lot does not have to necessarily be a slab of asphalt that runs your drainage straight into the canal. When we had our great debate over the harbor project three years ago, big concerns were the sheet metal wall and four acres of asphalt.”

Alternative pavement systems include permeable pavers, pervious concrete, or articulated pavers. The idea of the alternative methods is to allow stormwater to seep into or through porous pavement, and into surrounding soil. Water movement through rock and soil helps filter out pollutants, can reduce flood potential, and can absorb snow melt in winters more rapidly, according to the Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership.

Last Tuesday, the assembly unanimously approved a cooperative agreement with Alaska Department of Fish and Game to reimburse the $3.8 million contracted with Hamilton Construction for the project.

Lende said she’d only approve the cooperative agreement if the assembly agreed to look into a green parking lot. “The green parking lot doesn’t mean we’re still not going to have a four-acre parking lot,” Lende said. “But it may be made up of different materials and have different features to it that make it better. Not just green, not just prettier, but more efficient, safer, cleaner. I’d like to give it a try. I understand completely that the contractor may just say, ‘forget it, you’ve already spent the million and this is how we’re going to do it.’”

In July, the assembly awarded the harbor boat launch project to Hamilton Construction, then later amended the scope to total $5.8 million, $2 million of which will be footed by the Haines Borough.

Assembly member Sean Maidy said that delaying the contract for the sake of discussion on beautification was not worthwhile. “We did not have a flood of people in assembly chambers demanding beautification,” he said. “I’m all for a green parking lot, but I don’t think this has anything to do with this current project that’s already been out to bid and accepted.”

The manager is working to first research green parking lots and work with staff to decide if it’s possible. The second step would be to discuss with engineers, contractors and the state whether a change would be considered.


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