Three days of politics and networking get underway today in Sitka, Alaska as the Southeast Conference holds its series of annual discussions working with the theme of Building the economy of tomorrow.
Some of the elements that delegates will be reviewing in today's first day include Housing, Energy and Economic Development, with the opportunity to take a Cruise later in the day prior to the Community Reception this evening.
Tomorrow the Focus will be on Transportation, Mining and Tourism, with the morning discussion on Alaska Ferry Reform perhaps the spot where the Mayor will outline his thoughts on how to keep the gates at the Fairview Terminal open and the marine connection between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan viable.
The topic may also come up during Friday's sessions, when former Governor Frank Murkowski speaks to AMHS issues as part of the AMHS Reform Steering Committee; more talk on tourism and a chance for a number of tours of Sitka make for the final day of the conference.
You can explore the full agenda of events for the delegates below:
As we noted above, part of his participation in the Sitka sessions, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain is expected to see the Mayor outline his solution to reverse the recently announced end of service to the city by the Alaska Marine Highway System.
The fate of the Ferry service was delivered in early September when the State of Alaska announced that owing to an inability to resolve security issues for US Customs and Border Personnel, the long standing service would be terminated at the end of this month
That was a topic that Mayor Brain was to discuss with Alaska officials prior to the conference, with the Mayor expressing optimism on his Facebook page on Tuesday evening.
Last week Mr. Brain used his social media feed to advise that he would be sharing the details with Prince Rupert residents during the course of the Conference this week.
Ketchikan radio station KRBD has been devoting a fair bit of its news flow over the last few days towards the Ferry issues.
Reporting that Alaska Representative Dan Ortiz, who has been briefed on the Mayor's talking points noted that the Mayor will be "presenting a very very viable option for the State to consider."
Still, the Alaskan politician observed that in the end it will depend on whether the Alaska government wishes to continue with the Ferry service to Prince Rupert that will make for the final word on the topic.
“The offer that I know is going to be put forward is a very good one, but in the end, it’s still going to be left up to the administration as to whether they want to see continued service to Prince Rupert,”
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The latest Notes on the three day Alaska conference can be followed through their Facebook page.
For some of the background to the ferry issues see our Transportation archive here, a wider overview of Prince Rupert Council themes can be found from our Council archive page.