Sitka’s large-boat owners are being invited to help shape the direction of the marine services industry in town.
Sawmill Cove Industrial Park has prepared an online survey to help gauge the demand in the community for everything from covered work areas to a haul out for large vessels.
The survey has been available since September. Sawmill Cove director Garry White says only 130 people have taken it. The survey will close on the 15th of this month.
He says the survey is a critical first step in what will be a significant public process.
“We should have a screening-level assessment by the middle of January. And we’ll look at where we’re going to move from there through public meetings and the assembly. We’re just wanting to hear from the assembly.”
Much of Sawmill Cove’s 75 acres are being utilized at the moment to stage materials for the Blue Lake Hydro expansion project. But the long-term plan for the park reserves an area for marine services. White says his board wants to know if Sitkans favor a deep-water bulkhead dock, a haul out, or large-vessel moorage.
Learning which — if any — of these facilities should be publicly-owned is also part of the process.
“One of the things we’re going to look at is ownership. Whether it makes sense for private or public. And then the community gets to decide that through the assembly.”
The survey has 22 questions tailored mainly to owners of boats too large to be trailered. However, there are several questions about funding that are likely of interest to the general public. Also, there a questions geared toward large-vessel owners who currently bypass Sitka, but who might prefer to one day have their work done here.