Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Fate of Alaska Marine Highway System among topics for Southeast Conference in Haines
Political and community leaders from across Southeast Alaska are meeting in Haines this week, with more than 200 delegates having descended on the community at the very top of the Alaska panhandle close to the Canadian border.
So far, the three day conference made for a convention that has covered a range of topics covering such themes as the Alaskan economy, to energy, seafood, mining, tourism forestry and transportation issues to name a few.
On the latter, the future for the Alaska Marine Highway System remains high on the agenda, with the forum to receive an update on how the State plans to improve the ferry system that serves communities up and down the Alaska coast and calls on Prince Rupert.
The British Columbia government may be feeling its ears burning a bit when the theme of mining comes up for discussions, a number of communities along the Southeast panhandle have expressed a number of concerns when it comes to proposed or ongoing mining projects on the Canadian side of the border.
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Tuesday featured sessions on Economic Development strategies, Regional planning, Health Care and forums putting a focus on mining and lumber.
Today will bring the full update on the Alaska Marine Highway System with a number of AMHS and State of Alaska Officials outlining the key elements of the Phase III report on ferry reform in the state.
A chance for the delegates to discuss issues with representatives of the Alaska Legislature is also on the Agenda for the day, as well as a review of the Seafood sector and workforce development in the Southeast Alaska region.
The final day tomorrow, which is a half day, will feature an address from the Lieutenant Governor of the State as well as a final session dedicated to energy both from traditional sources and newer initiatives.
The meeting wraps up with a Regional round robin by participants to share news on projects in the communities that make up the conference.
As Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain noted for Alaska Public Radio in May, the Southeast conference is an important part of the City's engagement with the State, with Prince Rupert trying to send delegations or representatives north at least three times a year.
To this point there has been no indication by the city if the Mayor, or other representatives from Prince Rupert are attending this years conference in Haines.
In September of 2015, Prince Rupert played host to the Southeast Conference gathering welcoming delegates from up and down the Alaska panhandle.
A look at the full agenda for those that are in attendance in Haines can be reviewed here.
Updates on how the conference is progressing can be found from the Southeast Conference Facebook page.
Some media notes on the conference as it moves forward can be found below:
Southeast leaders gather in Haines to chart ferries' fate
Ferry reforms next step at Southeast Conference
Conference will consider future of Alaska Marine Highway System
Haines to host Southeast Conference