I happen to live within that area, but I would gain no more benefit from such a project than I do from the Anchor Point Fire Service. Although I had no choice about being assigned to the Fire Service Area, and paying the tax levy for that privilege, I do have a choice about opposing paying taxes for an extremely costly, ill-advised attempt to gain public dollars for the benefit of a few.
I don't feel that this is a good project for several reasons:
1. Whether it is constructed as a full harbor or simply as a boat- launch ramp, it will put several independent entrepreneurs out of business and will benefit only a relatively few people. Whenever I have been at the mouth of the Anchor River, the folks who pull boats out to the water and back in again later seem to be busy, but not swamped.
2. The construction of whatever project is chosen could endanger or diminish the extremely rich salmon runs in the river. Does anyone want that? This is a project that the state Department of Fish and Game should really check out. To keep the harbor open would probably require much dredging - unless we're talking about a much larger project than has been discussed to date. The repeated dredging could also threaten the salmon runs. Anchor Point attracts hundreds of hopeful salmon fishermen every year. If the salmon runs diminish, where will they go? Not to Anchor Point.
3. Even if Anchor Point is given federal dollars to build the project, maintenance costs will likely be borne by the taxpayers - specifically those in the Anchor Point Fire Service Area.
That can be an extremely burdensome tax - especially if we do not receive any benefits, as we theoretically do from the fire service area.
I pay taxes for schools, even though I have never had children in the system and do not gain any direct benefit from them, and I am willing to do so. I pay taxes for the Anchor Point Fire Department, even though I would gain little benefit from them should a fire break out at my home. I am about equally distant from Anchor Point and Homer. I could not expect a lot of help from either one in time. I really am not willing to pay more taxes for something that would not benefit me in the slightest.
(Editor's note: proponents of the project hope that boat user fees will pay most maintenance costs.)
4. I do not think that there has been a great deal of effort to inform the residents of the Fire Service Area of the ramifications of the project, and I wonder why that is? Why are most of the supporters folks who live right in the Anchor Point area and none from the outlying areas?
5. I think the project is unnecessary and superfluous. We don't need another harbor on the south end of the Peninsula. And, I would argue, we don't even need another boat-launch ramp. People seem to be able to get their boats into and out of the water just fine with the present system.
I urge all the residents of the North Fork Road area and other outlying areas covered by the Anchor Point Fire Service Area to contact their Assembly members and make their opinions known.
<> Jan O'Meara is a former Homer News staff writer, a private publisher and a Homer-Anchor Point resident since 1971.