If Skagway wants to have the Ore Dock modified in time for the larger cruise ships by 2019, pre-construction work must start quickly.

The municipality of Skagway and White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad must work together to make this happen. White Pass submitted a proposal that includes three elements: amending the current lease to include dock expansion and other items, an environmental remediation agreement and a new lease which is crafted to avoid the requirement for voter approval. White Pass wants all elements to be approved simultaneously.

The dock expansion is a mutually beneficial project to both White Pass and the town, and is the item with immediate urgency.

But White Pass insists on tying all the elements in their proposal together, putting the assembly under immense pressure.

The assembly and the town should not be put in the position of having to negotiate a new lease under this pressure and timeframe. A new lease should be given calm, broad, inclusive, careful consideration, with enough time to thoroughly consider all complexities and get expert assistance. This is not possible within the timeframe that is needed to start work on dock expansion.

White Pass is trying to make the price of moving forward with the dock expansion a new lease, negotiated under extreme pressure and without voter approval. Skagway should change this equation: Offer to negotiate a new lease over the next year, but only if White Pass amends the current lease immediately so that dock expansion can proceed.

People and businesses of Skagway: Tell White Pass that you don’t think they deserve a new lease if they hold the dock expansion, and thus everybody else’s profit and livelihood, hostage. Tell them that if they clear the way now for the ore dock expansion, that you will support negotiating a new lease that is good for their profits, and good for Skagway. Tell your assembly members that you support them pursuing lease negotiation after a dock expansion amendment is in place.

C. E. Furbish • Skagway