About 30 Thane residents attended the Assembly meeting on May 2, and many of them testified about a serious flaw in the draft tourism plan the Assembly is considering.
The plan "puts the cart before the horse" by recommending a heliport be built in Thane, without any of the information that Thane Neighborhood Association, Era Helicopters, and Juneau Neighbors (an association of neighborhood associations) have pointed out is needed before a decision on that can be made. The Assembly has earlier agreed much more data is needed.
As reported in the Empire, the consultant who developed the plan responded that the draft only says "probably," not "definitely," with respect to the recommendation to locate a heliport in Thane.
That is not accurate. On page 82 and 83 of the plan, the recommendation is very definite:
"The first phase will involve the development of a new heliport south of Juneau, probably in the vicinity of Dupont or Sheep Creek.... Once complete, and after operational agreements and/or contracts are in place, ERA's flightseeing operations will move to the new heliport. " (Emphasis added.)
A bit further on, the plan says: "The CBJ and the JTP will press phase one forward with as much speed as possible, making every effort to move operations by the 2004 season." (Again, emphasis added.)
This is pretty darn definite language, and it seems disingenuous to say otherwise.
President, Thane Neighborhood Association