Kupreanof dock is located near the mouth of Petersburg Creek on Kupreanof Island. Photo/Angela Denning

Kupreanof dock is located near the mouth of Petersburg Creek on Kupreanof Island. Photo/Angela Denning

The Petersburg Borough assembly meeting on Monday lasted for nearly four hours. One of the main issues decided was a counter offer to the State for three remote docks. KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:

The State of Alaska has offered to give Petersburg the remote docks at Entrance Island, Kupreanof, and Papkes Landing along with about $730,000 for maintenance. At the meeting, the Assembly agreed that the borough does not want the Entrance Island dock in Hobart Bay. They would consider taking over Kupreanof and Papkes under certain conditions.

First, the assembly heard from several residents in favor of the borough taking over the dock at Papkes.

Dave Kensinger says he has used the Papkes dock for over three decades. He says it’s a busy place. One day this summer there were 60 vehicles and 17 boat trailers parked there.

“That’s a lot of economic activity that goes through out there,” Kensinger said.

Tim Koeneman also spoke about the importance of the Papkes dock.

“In my 22 years as an EMT here we have picked up a number of people at Papkes landing and it has very much gotten medical care to those people before they would otherwise come into town,” Koeneman said. “So, that’s another safety consideration.”

Several people talked about starting up user fees or permits as a way to help pay for the Papkes dock upkeep.

Bonnie Westlund lives in the Papkes area.

“If we could work something out where those of us who use it will try to take care of it,” Westlund said. “The same thing with getting a fee, I mean there are modern ways now that we can do that. You can have a service card, you get a permit to dock your boat there or you get a permit to use the ramp. You pay it once a year and that’s it. You get a ticket just like you do in the harbor. I mean you park your car there, you get a little sticker on your car, you have one on your boat, it doesn’t seem like it’s that complicated.”

There was also support for the borough taking over the Kupreanof dock.

City clerk, Debra Thompson, read a letter from Kupreanof Mayor, Tom Reinarts. He wrote that he’d like the Petersburg borough to accept the dock from the State and transfer the ownership to the City of Kupreanof.

“The city is financially stable and in a strong position to provide the required maintenance and repair so that all borough residents and visitors can gain access to the Kupreanof trail system,” Reinarts said.

The assembly was fine with giving the dock to Kupreanof. But it’s not just the docks that the borough wants. The assembly is also interested in getting the tidelands through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

Assemblyman Bob Lynn said the borough should own all of the Papkes dock area.

“We’ve got to resolve the overall ownership,” Lynn said. “To me, that whole area needs to be in borough ownership, the dock, the parking lot, and the drive down ramp. All of that needs to be part of the borough.”

In the end, the assembly decided not to ask for the parking area or drive down ramp.

The assembly did vote to send a response letter to the State accepting the Papkes and Kupreanof docks if the state transfers to the borough the ownership of the tidelands and the permits from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The borough agreed to then transfer the Kupreanof dock to the City of Kupreanof through a public vote process. The earliest that could happen would be 2017.
The borough also asked for the walkway down to the dock at Papkes.

Besides teasing out the ownership details the assembly had concerns about not having enough money to pay for fixing up the docks.

Mayor Mark Jensen said they should ask for more.

“The two facilities were talking about asking to take, Papkes and Kupreanof, but how do you afford to pay for it,” Jensen said. “And with the $700,000 or $500,000 it’s not going to be enough to even get one of them up to snuff.”

The assembly decided to also ask the State for $1.2 million in order to meet maintenance costs.

The State gave the borough a deadline of December 31 to accept their offer.