Gates going

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A loader moves wood chips into a pile on the Homer Spit several years ago. Gates Construction's last chip ship, the M/V Forest King, pulled out of Homer in January. With little fanfare, the company came closer to wrapping up its Homer operations. The last logging ship is expected within the next few months. Once Gates, a Kasilof-based company owned by Kevin Gates, wraps up its Homer outfit, the city will lose about half a million dollars from the moorage, lease, tariffs and sales taxes. Gates is pulling out of the southcentral peninsula because it could no longer secure long-term contracts with its former customers in Japan and Canada, the Homer News reported. The company notified Homer officials in the early fall of last year that chip shipments to Japan and log shipments to Canada would be ceasing in the early part of this year. Gates has been operating on the Homer Spit for 10 years since it bought out Circle D Pacific.

Gates had been logging in Jakalof Bay, Tyonek and other Kenai Peninsula locations. It had renewed its lease agreement with the city for the chip operation last year. It was to expire in two years. The log facility lease would have expired in June. So, in addition to negotiating a release from those leases, the city also had to determine what portions of the operation it wanted. Gates is selling the conveyor system used to load cargo from the shore to the ships docked at the deep water facility to a company based in Valdez that started logging operations on the Spit in the 1980s. The city will retain the fencing around the cement chip pad, the pad itself, the two breasting dolphins installed by the city in the early 1990s and the barge ramp with breasting dolphins installed by Gates. The lots will be cleaned to the city's standards and released in May. At that point the city has intentions to put the area out for bid. It has had inquiries from both logging and container storage companies. The city is not opposed to another chip company taking up operation on those lots, but it would have to show it had a good business plan, financial backing and contracts, Wrede wrote in his report to the council. Both as part of its long-range fiscal plan (see related story, page 9) and its resolution to the Kenai Peninsula Borough that identifies goals for the borough's comprehensive plan update, the city has chosen the port and harbor as key to Homer's future financial viability. We're the key to everything that happens across the way. We really are, Councilmember Rick Ladd said at Monday's meeting. I think it's important that we point this out to the borough and I think it's very important that we market our port to companies like Northern Dynamo and not assume the borough is going to do it for us, Wrede said. Carly Bossert can be reached Discuss this story in our Discussion Forum E-mail this Story a friend E-mail a message to the editor Have our Headlines e-mailed to you Comments or questions? For questions about the website contact the web master at For questions or comments about the news Homer News Editorial and Newsroom Content Homer News 3482 Landings St. Homer, Alaska 99603 907 235-7767 Copyrighted by Homer News, a Division of Morris Communications Privacy and terms of use.

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