The Skagway Borough Assembly unanimously agreed to move forward with a Request for Proposals for a preliminary design of the Gateway Project.

Assemblyman Tim Cochran told the assembly said construction of the new dock won’t curb any Ore Dock operations and would not affect the ore haul, fuel barge or Alaska Marine Lines shipments.
“The way the sheet piling is planned to go in is behind the dock, not on the base of the dock,” he said. “The dock is still usable up until the time the fill is completed and capped, and the original dock can then be dismantled and new accommodations could be made for existing operations if need be.”

Cochran also mentioned that municipal consultant Chad Gubala said putting the contaminated sediments from the ore basin into a concrete slurry inside the new dock wall would be cheaper for the municipality than polymerization, which could take the municipality “to the cleaners.”

During an April 2 Skagway Port Commission meeting, members discussed including Ore Dock lessee White Pass & Yukon Route and ore terminal owner Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority in on the Gateway Project design plans to discuss specifics of the project.

“The way I look at it, this is a jointly considered project,” said Port Commission Chair Tim Bourcy. “It’s imperative White Pass be fully engaged at this point.”

Bourcy also said it’s important for the municipality to move forward with the conceptual plan so the public will be educated on what the project actually is before the vote on a new municipal White Pass lease.

The lease would allow the railroad company to continue leasing the Ore and Broadway docks from the municipality, and the municipality could have access to construct its Gateway Project.

The next step in this conceptual plan is to put the project out to bid later this month, said Mayor Mark Schaefer.

Schaefer said he doesn’t know what will happen with the Gateway Project, which includes the remediation of the contaminated sediments, if the community votes down the lease, but he said there is no time to waste on moving forward with the Gateway Project at this point.=