Borough considers ferry service in Kachemak Bay

Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

The very remoteness of the south side of Kachemak Bay is both an appealing virtue and vexing drawback, a constant conflict between being a lovely place to visit and not being able to get there from here -- at least easily.

A move by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly soon may change all that.

Last week, the assembly introduced an ordinance to spend $75,000 to study the feasibility of a daily ferry service between Homer and one or more of the communities on the bay's south side.

The proposed ordinance, 2001-19-34, gets a public hearing March 12 and is expected to go to the borough Planning Commission before then.

Responding to a resolution from the Seldovia City Council appealing for federal, state and borough help developing such a ferry service, Mayor Dale Bagley put the matter before the assembly.

"Many members of these (south bay) communities believe that a ferry which is capable of transporting vehicles and passengers across Kachemak Bay would significantly impact the economies of those communities in a positive way," Bagley said in a letter to the assembly.

"Conducting this feasibility study is believed to be a reasonable step toward pursuing this possible expansion of the transportation systems within the borough," he said.

The study would establish the actual demand for a ferry, its probable size, speed and capacity, and locations from which it would operate.

Seldovia likely would be a port of call. The framework for a road system already exists that could serve Kachemak Bay State Park as well as state and federal public lands from Seldovia to the outer peninsula coast. The Seldovia City Council resolution asked for support from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for a fast ferry service and to consider Seldovia as the vessel's home port.

"About the only disadvantage of living in a remote community such as Seldovia is the inability to leave the area when one needs to," said Peggy Boscacci, secretary-treasurer for the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce.

"Having a ferry that would run on a daily basis would certainly be an enhancement."

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