Juneau Assembly approves change to waterfront plan, making a 5th large cruise ship dock possible

Initial designs for the subport lot in downtown Juneau. (Illustration courtesy of MRV Architects)

The Juneau Assembly has made a change to the city’s long range waterfront plan, allowing for the development of a fifth cruise ship dock in town. 

At their regular meeting Monday night, members voted seven to one to modify the plan. 

Prior to the vote, several members of the public testified against the change. Some said that even though the change doesn’t guarantee the construction of a new Norwegian Cruise Line dock, it does set the stage for one.

Juneau resident Laura Stats said she was concerned that a new dock would go against the city’s plan to lower Juneau’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Given the crisis that our climate is in, unless local government leaders rapidly prioritize serious change in reducing our greenhouse emissions, methane, reducing our carbon footprint at a community level, we’re missing the only opportunity that we have left,” Stats said.

Other residents were worried about the potential for increased traffic downtown, and that not enough feedback had been collected from the public.

Assembly member Christine Woll proposed the amendment. She explained her reasons behind the changes at the meeting.

“I was afraid that if this ordinance passes, that people would take it to mean that a cruise ship dock being built at the cruise ship dock at the sub port was a foregone conclusion,” Woll said.

Woll said she wanted to make it clear that the assembly would continue to consider community input before moving forward with another dock. 

Assembly member Alicia Hughes-Skandijs said she was concerned they were putting the cart before the horse by taking another step toward a new dock without fully considering the pulse of the community.

“I ask myself what is the rush here,” Hughes-Skandijs said. “From Norwegian’s perspective, I understand entirely, and I appreciate their desire to build and begin, but we’re not here to represent Norwegian’s interest. We’re here to represent the entire community’s interests.”

Hughes-Skandijs was the only member to vote against the change.

Bridget Dowd

Local News Reporter

I keep tabs on what’s happening in Juneau’s classrooms for the families they serve and the people who work in them. My goal is to shine a light on both stories of success and the cracks that need to be filled, because I believe a good education is the basis of a strong community.

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