On April 22, the Gary Paxton Industrial Park (GPIP) board convened to discuss the current $1 per head tariff for the use of the GPIP floating dock. They determined that this rate was considerably lower than fees at other public facilities in Sitka. Garry White, the executive director, highlighted that the city is currently comparing rates across other Southeast cities to establish a consistent fee structure in Sitka. He emphasized the goal of harmonizing the harbor system and GPIP rates to prevent internal competition and ensure a uniform rate across the board.

The board initially considered raising the per-passenger fee to $5. However, Chris McGraw, co-owner of Adventure Sitka, an excursion company and a significant user of the dock, advocated for a more moderate increase to $2 for the current year. This request comes as the company has pre-existing agreements with cruise lines that do not accommodate such a significant hike. McGraw emphasized the need for a standard community-wide tariff rate for shore excursion services.

Opened in 2018, the 250-foot deepwater dock at the industrial park has seen increased usage by the fishing fleet and small cruise lines seeking moorage. Adventure Sitka, which boards about 10,000 passengers each summer for excursions in Silver Bay, uses a finger float attached to the dock. Concerns were raised about the limited access for industrial users due to the excursion activities.

Board member Casey Campbell expressed concerns about the long-term implications of balancing industrial and tourism activities at the dock. He proposed revisiting the tariff issue in the fall, post the busy summer season. Ultimately, the board unanimously decided to recommend increasing the tariff to $2 for the 2024 season and to $5 for 2025.

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