Story last updated at 1:55 p.m. Thursday, July 18, 2002

Dock options weighed; Fish Creek dam opened

Happenings in Seldovia

Sepp Jannotta
There has been no change in the Seldovia city council's stance on the fate of the harbormaster position or those of the harbor assistants, City Manager Ken Weaver said.

That means that Weaver will be putting together an updated job description for a police deputy who will likely be hired to replace John Holley, who resigned last Thursday.

"As it stands now I expect I'll have to fill that position," Weaver said.

The new cop's job description will likely have to include some harbor duties after the council adopted a budget last month that by summer's end will nix the three harbor positions in favor of keeping the city's second police officer, which is the deputy position. An additional clerk would be added to help absorb some of the harbor duties.

In its July 10 meeting, the city council reviewed options for the rehabilitation or reconstruction of the cannery dock, according to City Manager Ken Weaver.

A report from Tryck, Nyman and Hayes Inc., an Anchorage engineering firm, listed several options for the dock as part of the city's plan to purchase the site and raze what remains of the cannery building.

Currently the entire cannery project is estimated to cost $1.2 million, Weaver said.

The first option involves refurbishing the existing dock by replacing pilings and other wood as needed. The second alternative calls for completely reconfiguring the footprint of the dock and reconstructing it. This option was over-budget by $300,000, Weaver said.

The third option would replace the existing dock with a trestle and a gangway onto heavy-duty floats.

The cannery, which was last in operation in 1991, is now owned by Deepak Stokes, a California doctor.

Weaver said the plan is contingent on a federal grant. The grant, which would be paid out at least in part on a reimbursement basis, would go jointly to the city and to the Seldovia Native Association, Weaver said.

SNA has discussed building a visitors center, Weaver said.

The city opened the Fish Creek dam on Friday, bringing Seldovia into compliance with the state's Fishways Act.

The move was cleared after the city council voted to open the reservoir, which it had used as a backup water source.

Representatives with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Department of Natural Resources notified the city council members that they could face fines of up to $1,000 per day if they refused to comply.

Some members of the city council were concerned about the loss of crucial city water rights, Weaver said. But the state informed the city council that the water rights were only seasonal.

Weaver, who was also at the Anchorage meeting along with the city's legal council, said he didn't learn the water rights weren't year around until he recently started digging into the issue. The water-use permit dated back to the 1970s.

Fred Elvsaas, who traveled to Anchorage last week to meet with state officials about the fate of the Fish Creek salmon runs, said there were chum salmon schooling between the Seldovia Slough bridge and the dam.

Weaver and city maintenance worker John Gruber went up to the dam and slowly cranked open the gate.