Disgusted by vote

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2001

I was greatly disgusted by the recent Assembly vote regarding the city's position on helicopter permitting by the U.S. Forest Service. The formal position established by the Assembly favors continued growth in the number of landing permits irrespective of the construction of the recently proposed alternative heliports.

This position is a slap in the face to the many homeowners who are adversely impacted by flightseeing noise. It also contradicts the community position (against flightseeing growth without mitigation) clearly established in the recent tourism poll. A common sense approach by Mayor Smith, to tie permit growth to the development of alternative heliports, was summarily dismissed by a vote of the full Assembly. This leads me to believe that the city has no intention of building alternative heliports. The Baker Corp. study was just another in a long series of distracting and delaying tactics. The vote by the Assembly crushed any hope of relief (in the foreseeable future) to those adversely impacted by flightseeing activities.

I am concerned about the possibility of the Assembly ignoring at least one of the recommendations proposed by the Baker study, that is, the building of an alternative heliport at Dupont. There appears to be support for building the alternate at Sheep Creek instead. If this is true, it indicates that the Assembly is willing, a) to sacrifice the quality of life of Thane residents to save a few dollars for road construction to Dupont (the preferred and logical location), and b) to ignore the recommendations of a quality study that the citizens paid handsomely for at the behest of the Assembly.

Apparently, the only hope left for those adversely impacted by flightseeing noise is that a forecast downturn in tourism turns out to be true. That is a sad position indeed for those of us who recognize the importance of tourism to our local economy. My disgust for the highhanded and shortsighted politics in this town has reached a new low.

Everett Hinkley

Juneau



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