Skagway Solid Waste, Recycling, Public Works, and RV Park Master Plan (Corvus Design)

A new facility that could expand waste and recycling disposal options is in the works in Skagway. The total cost of construction for a solid waste, recycling, public works facility and RV park is estimated to be about $22.5 million.

The cost estimates were broken down at a public meeting last month.

The solid waste advisory committee has been working with the Juneau-based Corvus Design and PND Engineers to come up with the plans.

A lot of support for the facility has come from residents who want to improve recycling in town. Right now, aluminum cans, glass and cardboard can be recycled locally. Residents who want to recycle paper or plastic will often drive it up to Whitehorse or bring it to Juneau. They could also bring it to Haines. The community has supported better recycling options for some time. A 2008 survey showed 90 percent of respondents supported a more comprehensive recycling program.

Solid waste is disposed of in an incinerator.

The construction expenses were broken down to show what each part of the facility would cost, as it would likely be built in phases.

The recycling, solid waste and composting facility is estimated to be around $12 million. About 2 million would be added to that for an unheated storage area.

A public works facility is anticipated to be around $3.5 million.

The final possible component, a five-acre RV park, would cost roughly $4.2 million.

Then there’s another expense. Getting utilities out to the chosen location would cost just over $800,000. The facility would be near the Dyea turnoff on the Klondike Highway. Cory Thole is the chair of the solid waste advisory committee. He spoke at last month’s meeting.

“There is no access to water and sewer out there,” said Thole. “The biggest price tag before anything can happen out there, before a recycling center can happen out there, before an RV park can happen out there, before anything can happen out there, it needs water and it needs sewer.”

That brings the grand total to about $22.5 million. There is an 18 percent contingency added to that number, so the cost could come down. Thole says although there is a substantial price tag on the facility, there is also a cost to not addressing the community’s long-term solid waste disposal needs.