By Leigh Armstrong

Mayor Andrew Cremata, borough manager Brad Ryan and White Pass & Yukon Route officials will meet to discuss the process and problems for when the railroad wants to extend its subleases to other companies on land that it leases from the borough.

Under the current lease between the municipality and WP&YR, borough assembly approval is required for any sublease or sublease extension of the property.

WP&YR has raised the issue with the borough, noting that its subleases to TEMSCO, Alaska Marine Lines and M&M tour sales have been month to month since 2015 because the assembly has not approved extensions.

The railroad raised the sublease extensions in 2015 but the assembly tabled the matter while it considered an extension of the municipality’s lease with WP&YR. Skagway voters defeated the lease extension in an election later that year. The borough’s waterfront lease to the railroad expires in 2023.

Cremata said the sublease extension requests are important to WP&YR and the municipality should sit down and talk with company officials about the extensions in exchange for indemnity against general and environmental liability or maybe provisions for early termination of WP&YR’s lease with the municipality. 

“White Pass wants something, so let’s get something back in return,” Cremata said in his Sept. 19 report to the borough assembly. 

Assemblymember Dave Brena said the municipality shouldn’t be interfering between the subleases that WP&YR has with other businesses since the municipality isn’t on them. Assemblymember Tim Cochran said the municipality is responsible for approving all subleases,  

“When I approached the assembly in 2015, it was in the course of regular business, because a condition of the sublease that (sublessees) get approval to enter into a five-year extension,” Jaime Bricker, WP&YR director of contracts and land management told the assembly Sept. 19. 

Bricker said businesses like AML and TEMSCO run multimillion-dollar operations on the waterfront under their sublease and WP&YR was never given a reason why the extensions were not approved by the municipality. 

“If there’s something else you need from us, in order to move forward with the regular course of business for tenants of the uplands, let us know,” Bricker said. 

No date has been set for the meeting between Cremata, Ryan and representatives of WP&YR.