By Ty Walker
March 25, 2006
The fee was $45.05. As I paid the fee I asked the clerk if the price was more than last year. The clerk told me the fee went up 10%. When I returned home I checked last year receipts and found the fee last year was $35.00. When I do the math I see the fee went up over 28%.
I then ask myself what I get for the fee. There are restroom facilities at each of the boat launches. There is a refuge container - But what else?
Parking is a premium at all three boat launches. There are signs posted which prohibit trailers parked without vehicles attached. Signs posted 72 hours parking only. Signs posted vehicles with trailers only. Signs posted 1 hour parking only. And yet I see many violations and no enforcement.
Last year at Bar Harbor I saw a vehicle with a "for sale" sign in the window, which was parked in an area posted "vehicles with trailers only". I called the harbor department to ask them about it. I was advised I would need to contact the city's parking enforcement. Why? Shouldn't I get a better answer for my annual launch fee?
I launch regularly at all three boat launches. At Mountain Point parking is tight. I often see vehicles and trailers parked at the firehouse or at the pull off near the Mountain Point light. Why can't we get more parking at the launch for our annual fee?
I don't know how many times I have had to back my boat around a tour bus and tourist in the middle of the Mountain Point boat launch parking lot. It is a regular tour stop to look at the eagle nest behind Sea Watch Estates. Yet I have never seen a launch sticker on any of the tour buses I have looked. Aren't they using the facilities? Where is the enforcement?
On the subject of tour buses - I have often seen tour buses parked in the upper lot of Knudson Cove awaiting their tourist to return from their Betton Island tour. This area is posted "vehicles with trailers only". Again, No launch sticker. Aren t they using the facilities? Where is the enforcement?
There is D rubber mounted to the launch floats. Several sections of D rubber are missing or falling off. Why couldn't the harbor department take a few minutes and replace or repair it?
I commend the Duck tours as they do have launch stickers.
Some time ago I was waiting in line to launch at Bar Harbor along with several other boats. A gillnetter registered in Metlakatla pulled into the float to offload some gear and wanted to back their truck down the ramp so they didn't have to pack their stuff too far. An assistant harbormaster was standing nearby. I asked him if the ramp wasn't for launching and retrieving of boats, not for off-loading gillnet gear. The assistant harbormaster said, "I don't know" and walked off. Where is the enforcement? I'm fairly certain the Metlakatla registered gillnetter didn't have a launch permit. Shouldn't have the assistant harbormaster investigated?
I have on occasion used the restroom at the launches and the refuge containers. So too have the tourist, and yet they are not paying for it.
The City is asking the citizens of Ketchikan to vote yes on 30+ million in bond debt to support the tourist industry. What is the City doing for the locals? Raising the launch fee 28% and getting nothing in return. How about a second launch ramp at Bar Harbor and more parking.
I am a Borough resident. This bond issue affects me too. Shouldn't I have a vote? It is way past time to consolidate.
About: Ty Walker is a lifelong Ketchikan resident.
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