Story last updated at 3:09 p.m. Thursday, October 10, 2002

Anchor Point explores options after defeated harbor initiative
by Hal Spence
Morris News Service-Alaska

According to supporters of a defeated ballot proposition, the dream of a boat harbor at Anchor Point was not extinguished Oct. 1.

The ballot proposition to create a five-member Anchor Point Port and Harbor Service Area, which would have been the mechanism for raising money to accomplish a $1 million port and harbor feasibility study, was defeated in last week's municipal election. Some absentee and questioned ballots remain to be counted. Though borough election officials couldn't say exactly how many, they predicted those ballots would not alter the result.

In a sense, supporters are back at square one. But a service area isn't the only option, said Tom Clark, director of the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce and a staunch supporter of Proposition 5. He promised efforts toward a harbor facility would continue.

"I don't know if there is a direction set, but the port and harbor idea is by no means through," Clark said. "The service was just one vehicle. There was a lot of misinformation put out, a lot of organized misinformation. It is an idea that should be explored further."

An old idea, and one that opponents suggested during the anti-Proposition 5 campaign that Anchor Pointers re-explore, is incorporation as a city. Incorporation opens avenues for state and federal funding beyond those available to a simple service area and well beyond those of an unincorporated community.

"There's always incorporation," Clark agreed. "Then there's the potential for the borough to assume port and harbor powers," an idea he acknowledged might be a long shot.

Dan Mumey, another supporter of Proposition 5, said he doubts incorporation would fly in Anchor Point. Neither is it likely that the borough will assume port and harbor powers any time soon.

That leaves few options other than to try the service area gambit again.

Mumey said after a few weeks, supporters would regroup and go on from there.

"We will give her another shot," he said.

Mumey said he feels partially responsible for not getting the word out to voters better. His job as mate aboard the oil spill response vessel MV Crystal Sea takes him to Valdez for weeks on end. He said he was gone during September.

"We probably should have publicized more articles, should have bought some (air) time," he said.

The next step, he said, is to go back to the borough and start the petition process over again and try and get the service area issue back before the voters. By borough law, they would have to wait at least six months before launching another petition drive.

Two options for a boat facility were being discussed as the service area idea made its way to the ballot -- a $15.5 million harbor or a $5.1 million boat launch facility.

The service area itself would not have had the authority to actually build either, only raise money for the feasibility study.

A feasibility study still must be done, however, even for a scaled back launch facility, Clark said, adding he hopes the community can still get there, even if it has to take "incremental steps."

Hal Spence is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.