Citizens Speak on Jackson Mobile Home Park and Fisheries Closing at Borough Assembly Work Session

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

People filled the chairs, stood in the doorways, and sat on the floor at the Borough Assembly work session last night. Many of them were residents of Jackson Mobile Home Park and say they were recently given notice that the park would be closed. Some citizens spoke up to ask for the Borough Assembly to intercede. Barbara Cobban was one of those present.

“I can’t move my trailer,” says Coban. “My trailer’s over ten years old. I have a home. I have no where to take it. At all. So, I really hope that my thoughts have made some sort of impact.”

The Borough Assembly spent the majority of its meeting on budget review and other items on its agenda, but revisited the park closing near the end of the work session. It talked about further pursuing the issue with the Kodiak Island Planning and Zoning Commission, possible alternative locations for park residents, and seeking legal counsel. Here’s Assemblyman Frank Peterson explaining the need for legal assistance.

“The question was the landlord-tenant laws, you know what can we do as far as that’s in concerned,” says Peterson. “How much do we want to get involved in that? Is it a slippery slope? Do we just want to stay away from it all together? And that’s the legal advice.”

Citizens also spoke up on the May 3 closing of the Gulf of Alaska non-pollock non-rockfish catcher vessel sector fisheries.

In the meeting agenda packet, a draft letter to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council states the closing is a result of an amendment that enforces a 2,700 Chinook salmon hard-cap.

The letter also says Kodiak is the sole community to be affected since Kodiak’s non-Pollock trawl catcher vessel fleet is the only one that runs after May in the Gulf of Alaska.

The letter requests that NOAA and the Secretary of Commerce make emergency Chinook salmon available to the fisheries to prevent negative affects on the community.

The Borough Assembly expressed concerns about the letter’s organization and suggested re-writing it before considering it further. Here’s a comment from Assemblyman Dan Rohrer.

“The strongest point I read in this letter was the issue of the 97% of the fish caught as bycatch from the trawl fisheries are hatchery-caught fish,” says Rohrer. “And that’s the information that didn’t exist prior when they came up with the 2,700 number and so that’s the new information that allows the council to look at doing an emergency order, and it just seems like that’s what you need to lead with.”

The Assembly decided it will revisit the issue after receiving a new draft. The next Borough Assembly regular meeting is planned for Thursday, May 21.

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