Fleet Financing

Grassroots meet high finance in Sitka community shipyard proposal

The map accompanying the Sitka Community Shipyard proposal. If approved, most of the remaining available lots (shown in yellow) could potentially be leased for the project.

The Sitka Industrial Park Board of Directors has determined that a basic proposal for a new marine beaching facility is worth pursuing – but wants to clarify a few details before sending the deal to the assembly.

Find the full Sitka Community Shipyard proposal and the Gary Paxton Industrial Park Request for Proposals in the May 12, 2021 package.

The Gary Paxton Industrial Park Board of Directors met on May 12 to consider a proposal from a yet to be formed organization called the Sitka Community Shipyard.

The council has struggled to find an acceptable supplier to build and operate a strand on public property, since the announcement in 2019 by the community’s only private shipyard, Halibut Point Marine, that it would close in the near future for focus his attention. on the development of its cruise port.

The board has welcomed previous offers, none of which quite matched the bill due to lack of funding or a compelling strategy.

Examples of cost comparisons: Sitka community shipyard vs. technical estimate. (Note: This is a representative sample offered by Linda Behnken in her presentation. See a full cost breakdown in GPIP Card Pack 5-12-21.)

Unloading / washing area Sitka Community Shipyard PND Engineering
Upgraded 100 ton ramp / trailer $ 3.21 million
150 ton travelift, retaining wall, jetty $ 2.2 million
Washable pad / water treatment $ 300,000 $ 860,000
Hydronic boilers / heated toilets $ 2.58 million
Electric Porta-Potties $ 100,000

The Sitka Community Shipyard, however, is backed by serious experience in the seafood industry and a detailed financial plan – which they first presented at the industrial park in April. Linda Behnken is the Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust. She presented a revised plan with a phased approach that starts with a 150-ton forklift and washing platform, and which could be expanded over time as marine service companies launch or relocate to the park. .

“And I also think we’ve indicated to you that we have backup plans to fund each of the components to move forward with the shipyard,” Behnken said. “What we hope you do today is take all of that into account of the scoring proposition and move forward. We believe it meets the objectives you have set for yourself for using this area and for meeting the needs of the community and the fishing fleet very well. “

While there are no other competing proposals in play at this time, the industrial park board has a set of numbers to compare with Sitka Community Boatyard’s offering: a design estimate. preliminary 2019 provided by PND Engineering, which exceeds several million dollars more than Sitka. Shot of community shipyard.

But there are differences, Behnken explained, such as the hydronic boilers that would heat the washing area and toilets PND described, compared to the electric porta-pots offered by his group. Behnken said the Sitka Community Shipyard is a starting point.

“In summary, PND’s estimate is for a Cadillac version with $ 412,000 in consulting fees and a court that can’t be an operation until 2023 or 24, as our proposal gets sick or works hard in 2022, with the potential to upgrade all aspects if BUILD grants will arrive in the future, ”Behnken explained.

Other organizers from the Sitka Community Shipyard have argued for the proposal, including shipbuilder Jeremy Serka and fishermen Dan Falvey and Jeff Farvour.

Stephen Rhoads is a fisherman who now works in the management of the seafood producers’ cooperative. He urged the industrial park board to look beyond the numbers.

“And I just want to talk about the human factor of this proposal as we look at the people and organizations behind it,” Rhoads said. “ASFT (Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust), Jeremy Serka, Linda (Behnken) and Dan Falvey, that says a lot about what they are going to do for the community other than smoke and mirrors. There is transparency. And I think having an entity like ASFT to guide that through the long term goals of the project, is really essential to get there. That it is a public-private partnership. But there is actually a long term entity to drive it. “

(Note: Stephen Rhoads sits on the KCAW Board of Directors)

The Sitka Community Shipyard – when fully developed – would occupy much of the remaining space of the industrial park. The vision is that the seafaring trades could establish permanent stores in the region.

Shipbuilder Mike Nurco supported the plan.

“I would just like to say that I am really looking forward to having a full scale shipyard where I can do something other than work on my tailgate, where I don’t have to settle in and break down every time. Nurco said.

Lance McCutcheon is a Sitka-based troller. The hiatus in cruise ship tourism has allowed Allen Marine to reopen its shipyard over the past year – and McCutcheon feels lucky to be able to work there on his ship.

Many of the 600 commercial fishing vessels in the Sitka fleet had to outsource the work and he believes the Sitka Community Shipyard’s proposal could change that.

“It’s a necessary project that we have here with all the boats that we have in town, and we really shouldn’t be going to Wrangell for that stuff and it will just be great for the local economy,” said McCutcheon. “So, you know, whatever we can do to get this proposal passed. I think I speak for all the fishermen we need to get things done.

The industrial park council met in executive session to assess the proposal. When it reconvened an hour and twenty minutes later, the council ruled the proposal admissible, with a score of 65. The council members and the workcamp group will meet to negotiate some outstanding issues, before only the proposal wins final approval and goes to the Sitka Assembly.

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