by Tom LeCompte
March 08, 2005
Last Spring/early Summer during a civic celebration for the innaugural visit of the Serenade of the Seas, Captain Nilokaos Antalis, (the longest serving Alaska Captain of all the cruise ship fleets,) told Jim Voetberg, some other city officials, and Cruise Line Agency of Alaska employees exactly why the SOUTH END CRUISE SHIP DOCKS ARE A BAD CHOICE (emphasis mine). Prevailing winds make the approaches and departures unwieldy at best, and the possibilities of creating some sexy CNN type accident/disaster news are too scary to mention.
Any time a ship can't dock comfortably they will just sail on by and this has happened in the past. A ship missing this port is worth $250,000 cash out of pocket sales in town every time it happens. This is just like the T pier idea that was nearly foisted on us. No Coast Guard opinions were sought, no long time tug boat captains were questioned, no local master mariners were asked. Just one cruise ship captain who said it was a better option than being at anchor.
A city official who accused Pat Jirschele of "single-handedly bringing about an end to the fish processing industry in Ketchikan" is now the one pushing hardest for the South end piers. Now who is going to "single-handedly bring about an end to the fish processing industry in Ketchikan?"
I envision the North Side of the tunnel being cleaned up all the way to the Mall. Revitalizing the area on the North side of the tunnel would spread out some of the congestion from the downtown core. It would also be like urban renewal with the costs borne by the head taxes that are generated (and soon to be raised.) Hopkins Alley and Waterfront Storage could be great shop areas, (Dave Rubin's idea.)
The KPFF engineering firm dangles on a string and their mouths move and opinions flow at the whim of the city government. I wonder if Mr. Voetberg was ever allowed to pass along the information he received or if he was even heard.
The float planes would probably have to find a home if the North end piers are built, but there are spaces where float planes can operate that ships cannot.
Of course this is only my opinion and I respect all of your's as well,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.