With continuing talk of a tidelands lease going before Skagway voters, and the Borough Assembly’s negotiating team working with the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad on a memorandum of understanding regarding current and future lease details, the municipality has also begun looking more specifically at a floating addition to the Ore Dock – one that would allow Skagway’s port to accommodate multiple large-class cruise ships.

“Should we be preparing a RFP [request for proposals] to start considering a design option, or should we wait?” Mayor Mark Schaefer asked the assembly at its Aug. 17 meeting.

Borough Port Consultant Moffatt & Nichol has recommended Skagway proceed with an approximately $14.5 million plan that would see an additional floating component added to the Ore Dock facilities.

Moffatt & Nichol representatives have said to get this option, dubbed “3B,” installed before 2019, the municipality would need to begin work soon.

On Aug. 17, Assembly Member Steve Burnham Jr. asked former Mayor and Port Commission Chair Tim Bourcy if the commission had taken the opportunity to discuss whether or not the 3B option should include roll-on, roll-off (RORO) capabilities – a function that would accommodate vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo.

“Because that would be necessary, in my opinion, if we’re going to put an RFP [out] for a floating dock component, we have a description of what our endgame is,” Burnham said.

The addition of a RORO component to 3B would increase the price beyond the $14.5 million price tag currently estimated for the project.

Burnham made a motion to request that the Port Commission create a description based on Moffatt & Nichol’s 3B plan that details the commission’s vision of a RORO-capable, commercial and industrial floating facility. The motion was approved 6-0.