“Concept 4” doesn’t have everything the GPIP board wants in a haulout and boatyard, but it has enough to win approval as the “preferred alternative.” (GPIP image)

The board of Sitka’s industrial park formally approved a concept for a new marine haulout and boatyard on Thursday (6-22-23).

The plan – known as “Concept 4” – will include a pier for a 150-ton travel lift that will be sturdy enough to accommodate a 300-ton lift if Sitka ever acquires one. It will also have a temporary washdown pad and water treatment facilities, as well as a stormwater collection system that will be accomplished largely through grading the site.

There won’t be much else, however – at least not for the $8.2 million dollars in public funding approved by Sitka voters last October. Many of the extras, like an expanded boatyard, a queuing float, a utility building with restrooms, will have to come later, or be paid for by grant funding or other government appropriation that hasn’t been identified yet.

Some board members found this impractical, as this exchange between member Lauren Mitchell and PND Engineering project leader Dick Somerville shows:

Mitchell – “Is there a reason why we haven’t put a line item for utilities? Like what the cost is going to be associated? Because in all honesty, I don’t see how people are going to work on their boats if they don’t have power. 

Somerville – “Yeah…”

Mitchell – “Like we can’t run our generator, it’s water cooled, you know. So we’d have to bring out a pretty heavy duty generator that we don’t own to do any work on our vessel, for example. So I’m just a little concerned as to how we’re going to actually get people working if we haven’t considered the cost of utilities as a priority.”

Somerville – “Yeah, yeah…we have not developed the costs of those. And we have envisioned generators for use initially to get started. You know, maybe there’s a way to get a couple power pedestals. But the reality is, if we don’t get in there and tear up the yard and do all the site grading, and we put the utilities in first, we come back behind that later, there’s going to be a bunch of redo work. So just in terms of phasing the work, it makes sense to do that work when we’re doing the major site grading work in the yard. We could go ahead and assume that that work is going to occur in that sequence. And we could come up with some of those costs. But we just haven’t done that at this point.”

Mitchell – “Yeah, I just feel like it should be somewhat a priority to have some access to power and some of the stalls if not all, because I just don’t see how people are going to be able to do any of their projects. If they can’t run equipment, let alone lights. You know, the time of year that we’re hauling often it’s not in the lightest times of the year. So you’re not going to get much done if you can’t run a half-dozen pieces of equipment to get the job done.”

In the “Concept 4” budget, everything in blue is affordable with the $8.2 million approved by voters. Everything in red will have to wait for other funding. (GPIP)

The complete plan for the project – with all the trimmings – would cost roughly another $8 million, above and beyond the $8 million already approved by voters. 

Despite the limitations of the budget, Mitchell and other board members unanimously approved Concept 4 as the preferred plan for the project, which is scheduled to be operational by the end of next year.