Kodiak Island is a hub for sustainability and the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly discussed one project at last night’s regular meeting that aims to continue that way of life.
The Coastal Impact Assistance Program Grant Village Metals Project is an initiative to remove metal debris and hazardous waste from villages around Kodiak. Bill Roberts, acting in place of the borough manager, explained the Borough’s search for firms to carry out the project.
“The Borough went, put this out to bid, to try to get a contract bidder to remove the metals. We got only one bid and it was non-responsive. I believe it was just way out of our budget,” says Roberts. “Kodiak Island Housing Authority approached the Borough and said ‘We have a lot of expertise in the rural cities and the village of Karluk, and we think we could help you to remove this metal at a reasonable expense.’”
The Memorandum of Agreement at the regular meeting was for a transfer of authority over the project from the Borough to the Kodiak Island Housing Authority. The cost listed in the agenda is in the $2,300,000 dollar range. It is a grant-funded project.
Roberts says they’re using money from a previous grant while waiting for progress on the memorandum. He says they recently removed 80 tons of metal debris from Larsen Bay.
“It was set up through KANA and Kodiak Island Housing and what we got was a backhaul on a barge that was taking equipment there and it cost us a grand total of $15,000 to get rid of 80 tons,” says Roberts. “This afternoon I was told by Bob Tucker that we got another 50 to 60 ton load out of Larsen Bay for the same price of $15,000.”)
Roberts says it’s a win-win situation and the debris removal so far indicates the affordability of future cleanups.
Assemblyman Dan Rohrer says he’s glad to see the project advancing, especially after hearing worries about being unable to make progress by grant deadlines.
“Having attended the rural forum, not this most recent one, but the time before, people in our rural communities were very concerned about the lack of movement on this project. We’d had a bidder that it just wasn’t practical to go with them,” says Rohrer. “So, anyways, I really appreciate staff looking outside the box and negotiating with Kodiak Island Housing Authority to come up with a solution.”
The motion to transfer the project to KIHA carried.
The discussion about responsible waste management continued with a proposal to renew the Borough’s contract with Threshold Services, a recycling organization that also provides jobs for individuals with disabilities.
Threshold’s director, Ken Reinke, stepped up to speak during the meeting.
“We finished this last contract year with 781 tons. The previous contract year was 711 tons. A lot of it was because of the Westward Cannery shutting down, but still we had a substantial increase in community recycling, which is really good,” says Reinke. “We also did over 6,000 hours of helping people with disabilities with jobs and training.”
The Borough received over thirty emails in support of the contract. Assemblywoman Chris Lynch is the president of Threshold’s board of directors and thanked the public for its feedback.
“While that’s important for knowing where we stand for the award of a possible contract, it also gives us a feel of how many people really appreciate recycling, and we’d really like to concentrate on that and expand that and hopefully build a bigger and better recycling program every year,” says Lynch.
The assembly noted it was able to reach a bid negotiation with Threshold that satisfied both parties. It agreed to renew the contract. The borough assembly’s next regular meeting is scheduled for August 6 and a special meeting is planned for July 30 with a work session to follow.