A new group has invited 200 people to join an effort to find some common ground on tourism issues in Juneau.
Collaboration Juneau, a private nonprofit group with a board of directors including tourism supporters and critics, is forming a panel of stakeholders to study and discuss tourism issues and make recommendations to the city.
"The hope is to get as many people from diverse segments of the community to be part of the stakeholder process," said Juneau Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Todd Saunders, who is co-chairing the group with Paula Terrel, a bed-and-breakfast owner and Thane Neighborhood Association activist.
While board members and stakeholders are part of different groups, the goal is for them to represent their own perspectives, not that of a specific business or organization, Terrel said.
Collaboration Juneau, which has a $46,000 grant from the city, is working with consultants David Crislip and Stephen McCormick, who have worked with other communities as collaborative facilitators.
Saunders, formerly of Sitka, said the consultants helped that community deal with its solid waste problems.
Collaboration Juneau appeared before the Juneau Assembly last week, explaining its goals and process.
"We're working together to try to bring together the community of Juneau," said Terrel.
"It's going to take some time to have a common, shared understanding," said David Stone, who works for Alaska Electric Light and Power. "There is no guarantee we're going to solve every issue."
Collaboration Juneau is starting slow, forming the stakeholders group from 200 people sent a letter of invitation and anyone else who is interested, Terrel said. That group will hold its first meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 1 at Centennial Hall. Later this fall, it will break into smaller, issue-specific groups and recommendations will be made to the Assembly in the spring.
At last week's meeting, Assembly members said they supported the group, but couldn't stop dealing with tourism issues while Collaboration Juneau works through its process.
Assembly member Dale Anderson said he would welcome the group's input, but it would have its limits.
"This is not going to be the committee that runs Juneau," he said.
Saunders said that's understood.
"It's still recommendations we make to the Assembly, then it's in their hands to decide," he said.
Ed Schoenfeld can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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