Local governments to meet in Skagway for summit

The borough assemblies of Juneau, Haines and Skagway, as well as the Whitehorse City Council, will meet next Friday in Skagway for the Northern Lynn Canal Neighbors Summit.

The announcement from the Juneau municipal government Friday states that the lawmakers will “discuss issues of regional importance” at the public meeting, which will be held at Skagway City Hall from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“We haven’t made the effort to make sure that this happens, and I know that one of my goals when I was running for mayor was to try to open up the communications to the communities,” said Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford, noting that the goal was identified by the Borough Assembly as a priority as well. “We’re trying to do it in any way that we can.”

Sanford said that in addition to shared regional concerns, such as state money and transportation — on which Juneau, Haines and Skagway frequently align on ferry issues, but differ on the long-held dream of many in Juneau to see a road link up to Haines, Skagway or both — the four communities face similar local issues, such as housing, energy and the economy.

“Maybe we can learn from each other and get help from one another,” Sanford suggested.

According to Juneau City Clerk Laurie Sica, the four municipal governments have not held a joint meeting in the time she has been city clerk. Sica became clerk in 2000.

Juneau and Whitehorse, Yukon, are sister cities. However, Sica added, they have not held an official joint meeting since 2002, although less formal exchanges have occurred more recently than that.

Sica concluded, “Of course, there is a lot of travel in the region for hockey, softball, road and bike relays, festivals and events, work and play, so there is a lot of camaraderie between the citizens of all four communities.”

Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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