White Pass and Yukon Route sign in Skagway.

White Pass and Yukon Route sign in Skagway. (Greta Mart)

White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad has responded to a letter from Skagway officials regarding contamination clean-up in the ore basin and port renovations.

The conversation about port improvements stalled after a public vote rejected a tidelands lease extension between the two parties. Skagway’s assembly approved a letter to White Pass in February outlining proposals about how to move forward. One option included just remediation, which others included contamination clean-up and port improvements.

Read: APPROVED Mayor to White Pass Ore Basin Remediation

The municipality asked White Pass for a response by March 15, and the company met that deadline. But it didn’t make a commitment to collaboration.

White Pass President John Finlayson says in the letter that there is a ‘major issue’ that needs resolution before the parties agree on a plan. Essentially, the municipality needs another entity’s cooperation: the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, or AIDEA.

AIDEA subleases the ore terminal property from White Pass, which leases it from Skagway. But AIDEA owns the facility itself. Finlayson says ADIEA’s commitment and cooperation is required before moving forward.

Read: Response_to_Municipality

Finlayson ends the letter by saying he knows this might not be the response the city was looking for, but he thinks this of issue of AIDEA’s involvement needs to be resolved first.

The borough assembly will discuss the letter at its meeting Thursday at 7 p.m.