I serve as President of Bristol Borough Assembly. We have five assemblymen, a mayor, and a manager. We were the first Borough municipality to form in the state of Alaska, in 1962.
My focus today will be on Bristol Bay Borough resolution 2002-16, priorities one and six.
First the Naknek River Bridge Project. The Borough Assembly agrees that the single most important thing that could happen to enhance economic growth of the borough is “a bridge across the Naknek River.” Thus its number one ranking.
I personally hand delivered our request to our delegation in Washington, D.C. As you see before you in a letter to the honorable Don Young dated March 1, 2003, and a Transportation Project Evaluation Criteria Form.
We believe this project will bring “real benefits to both the region and the state” as a part of the State of Alaska's “Southwest Alaska Transportation Plan.”
Residents of the region are in strong support of the project.
Bristol Bay has had some of the world's largest returns of wild, natural salmon, including the much-prized Sockeye or Red Salmon. Commercial harvesting of Sockeye has occurred since the 1890's. There are still numerous large fish processing facilities that will benefit from completion of a bridge.
Also residents of Bristol Bay would benefit greatly. Currently school children from South Naknek, 6th through 12th grades, are flown daily to and from South Naknek to attend high school in Naknek.
Employment opportunities for Bristol Bay Borough residents would improve along with health care access, and the availability of an all weather airport by South Naknek residents.
Public Works, Public Safety, Fire and EMS, Community Development and Support Services, Solid Waste, Schools, Ports, Libraries and Quality of Life things would benefit from combining services at a cost savings to the borough, region, and industry.
We would like to see exploration for shallow natural gas, development, and transfer to our local utility for cheap electrical generation.
Finally on #6: Improvements to our existing Borough dock would help tremendously as we are spending close to $200,000.00 per year in up-keep to our main port of entry for freight.
Normal life span of a concrete and steel piling dock is 20 to 25 years. We are experiencing normal wear at 22 years.
We average 21st ranking for pounds and dollars of all U.S. ports. This is only canned fish; it does not include containers of frozen salmon shipped to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.