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Port of Friday Harbor needs $50 million over the next 30 years

LWVSJ Observer Corps* Notes from the Port Commission Meeting – January 11, 2023

At their January 11, 2023 meeting of the Port of Friday Harbor Commission reviewed the Jensen and Shipyard Cove Masterplan. The priority is to maintain a working boatyard with a boatlift on San Juan Island and support marine trades.

Jensen Shipyard/Shipyard Cove Port of Friday Harbor photo

The Port needs to generate revenue to pay for capital needs and subsidize the boatyard. Over the next 30 years they will need about $50 million dollars in investment to maintain and support all Port businesses, including $28 million for repairs and replacement.

A small levy is one option to increase revenue, but it will not fund the entire need. Raising rates for businesses at the shipyard might be revisited next year.

The proposed marina expansion would generate the most revenue but permitting issues could delay getting the project underway indefinitely.

The Port Director said 33 Port projects in the area are held by tribal objections and the Council agreed to open conversations with local tribes as part of the preparation for permitting.

The Council narrowed the parameters for the consultants to draft options. The Council agreed that adequate parking was a priority, that development of the wooded area is on the table, safety and efficiency might limit some public access and building preservation. Sea level rise needs to be anticipated.

Environmental clean-up is required and is estimated to need $4 million. Given these challenges mixed use development and finding development partners are also on the table.

The boat lift is at the end of its life and in the clean up area. The Port plans to build a new one in deeper water with more storage which will increase capacity.

A citizen thanked Port staff who were most appreciative for the rescue of Canoe Club boats from the king tides.

A request was made for the meeting time to revert to the old time of 4 to 6 pm. The Council decided to keep the current meeting time going forward.

Three new staff members in dock manufacturing, marina operations and capital Projects were introduced.

They will get a new estimate for the shower remodel. Construction would begin probably in 2024/2025. It has been painted and spruced up in the interim.

Additional proposals for the Spring Street Landing, the five-year capital improvement plan will be addressed at the next meeting.

*The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization encourages informed participation in government. The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to expand public understanding of public policy and decisions. The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members.


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