After a holiday break, the Haines Borough is set to have a busy week of municipal meetings. KHNS’s Abbey Collins has a preview of upcoming assembly action.
As snow descends on the Chilkat Valley, two particularly fitting meetings are on the agenda this week – discussions on heliskiing and a new winter tour permit.
An assembly committee of the whole to discuss 2016 heliski map amendment proposals kicked things off. Last year, a map committee met throughout the winter to review proposals. But the assembly postponed making changes amid questions of conflict of interest and wildlife concerns.
In September, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologists presented findings from research on mountain goat and brown bear habitat in the Chilkat Valley. That data will help inform decisions on the heliski map.
The assembly is set to discuss the process for making amendments to the map at its regular meeting Tuesday. An ordinance changing the procedure will have its third public hearing.
At an October meeting, assembly member Sean Maidy said there is room for heliski operators and the assembly to work together.
“The way I see it is we know what parts to avoid, but there’s still lots of space we can work together to get a good plan for a good tour and a good permit to continue with the industry,” said Maidy.
An ordinance that would make changes to the Public Safety Commission is also on the agenda.
The group is also set to discuss a change order with Wolverine Supply, to extend the contract for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade project.
A second change order on the agenda would authorize additional funding from a general obligation bond for a contract with proHNS. That would allow for up to $35,000 for marine mammal observation during the Portage Cove Harbor Expansion Project.
The conceptual design plan for the sport boat launch and parking phase of the harbor project is up for assembly approval.
The assembly is also set to review a resolution that would allow for the execution of a contract for design and engineering for the Haines School Biomass Heating Project.
The group will decide whether to advance a new ordinance amending code to designate minor offense fines for penalties laid out in a newly adopted section of code on parks.
The assembly’s regular meeting is Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, the assembly meets again as a committee of the whole. This time, to discuss an application for new winter tours.
Alaska Mountain Guides is looking for a permit for guided snow machining, UTVing, and backcountry skiing day trips.
AMG wants to operate the tours from January through May in the areas around 26-mile, Flower Mountain, Devil’s Elbow and the Tsirku River Valley.
The permit application originally listed Jarvis Glacier as well. But at a previous assembly meeting AMG owner Sean Gaffney said he would remove that location, after hearing concerns from some residents. Gaffney spoke at an October meeting.
“This tour permit application, I believe supports our growing winter economy,” said Gaffney. “The snow machine usage is an important part of that economy.”
Concerns were also raised about the area near the Little Salmon/Tsirku flats.
The permit will be discussed Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The Upper Lynn Canal Fish and Game Advisory Committee also meets this week, on Thursday at 5 p.m. Board of Fisheries proposals for 2017 and 2018 are on that agenda.
All meetings will be held in assembly chambers.