This week, the Skagway Assembly will consider two resolutions formalizing its stance on cleanup of contamination in the ore terminal basin.
The harbor has been contaminated with ore concentrates for decades. Cleanup stalled in recent years after the failure of a tidelands lease between Skagway and White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, which controls much of the waterfront.
One resolution expresses the municipality’s support for remediation prior to 2023, when the lease with White Pass expires. It also states the municipality believes that it did not cause the contamination. It points to evidence that the parent company of White Pass was responsible. The resolution was proposed by Mayor Mark Schaefer.
The port commission proposed a companion resolution with a softer tone. It supports collaboration with other stakeholders and pledges borough funding to the cleanup effort. But the pledge of support has conditions: the municipality wants a written agreement for remediation drawn up no later than June of 2018. That’s when a multi-million dollar state legislative grant is set to expire.
Also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting is Assemblywoman Angela Grieser’s resignation. Grieser says she is resigning because of health issues. The rest of the assembly will need to appoint someone to her seat in 30 days.
An updated cruise ship passenger tax study is up for approval. A consultant drew up the study displaying how cruise ship traffic impacts Skagway’s infrastructure. Because of that impact, the borough often uses cruise passenger taxes to pay for utility expenses, including a new water tank. A resolution committing CPV funds to the water tank project is also on the agenda.
The meeting is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. in assembly chambers.