Since my testimony regarding the harbor dredging project was criticized in Thursday's editorial, I would like to clarify my point.
Yes, I did suggest, tongue-in-cheek, that we might want to use the $500,000 to provide some fill for the harbor. That was in the context of the tourism polls the city will be conducting of registered voters later this summer.
This will be the first time the city has asked voters for guidance on tourism issues. I and many others hope these polls will ask the question, "How much is enough?" The point of my testimony was that no one has yet asked the residents of Juneau how many tourists and ships we want. If residents tell the city that we now have too many ships and/or tourists, what's the point of making more room in the harbor?
As for sources of fill for Savikko Road, my understanding from recreational boaters is that every launching ramp in Juneau is in serious need of dredging. The fill from these ramps could be used and may not have the toxic substances in the fill from the downtown harbor. Dredging the small boat ramps would be a good use of tonnage fees since many passengers on the cruise ships make use of Juneau's charter fishing fleet. If these charter boats do not use the launching ramps, they certainly displace other boats from harbor stalls who, as a result, must use the launching ramps.
It's time to consider the needs of local residents and give them at least as great a priority as the whims of the non-resident cruise industry.
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