Kenai City Council: Brian Gabriel Sr.

Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kenai must balance growth, impact on neighborhoods

Occupation: State of Alaska Department of Transportation Station Manager/Commercial Fisherman

Business and professional organizations and other interests: Kenai Peninsula Fisherman's Association, Member Public Employees Local 71, Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association Coach, Rusty Blades Hockey, Hunting, Fishing, Golf, Reading, Boating, Family

Previous political experience: None

1.Why are you a good representative of the City of Kenai?

My wife and I have lived in the City of Kenai for 22 years. We built our home here and raised our three children here. This is the place that we plan to stay. My past work experience has included 15 years construction and maintenance mostly in support of the oil and gas industry, 28 seasons commercial fishing in cook inlet and the past 13 years with the State of Alaska Department of Transportation Maintenance and Operations. This past work history has given me insight into the issues facing three of the major components of our economy. As a small business owner and Station Manager for The State of Alaska Department of Transportation, I understand the importance of working within a defined budget efficiently and utilizing resources, including personnel, materials and equipment to reach defined goals. Ultimately, I will be a good steward of the people of Kenai's resources.

2. What are the two biggest issues facing the city today? If elected, what do you propose to do to work on those issues?

The first issue would be clean & safe drinking water. Presently the City of Kenai's drinking water from wells #1 and #3 exceed the EPA's drinking water standards for arsenic. Well #2, which currently meets the EPA standards for arsenic, has a discoloration that residents find unsuitable. The second issue would be the future path of Kenai's economic development, understanding how to balance the economic growth of Kenai while reducing negative impacts to surrounding neighbors. If elected, I would explore the options for clean water that have been submitted to the City of Kenai and find a cost effective solution that meets or exceeds the EPA's minimum drinking water standards for arsenic. As far as economic development is concerned, I feel that developing commercial/industrial property around our airport, which I feel is the hub of the Kenai Peninsula, would be beneficial to the City of Kenai with little impact to the city's residential areas.

3. With the City of Kenai's comprehensive planning process upcoming, what would you recommend the city focus on now and in the future?

After reviewing the previous four comprehensive plans for the City of Kenai, I feel the comprehensive planning process should focus on economic development including our airport and surrounding lands which have been active in the plan since the airport was transferred to the city in 1962. In addition I will advocate for preservation of the historical and cultural area surrounding Old Town Kenai, while developing and promoting this area as a destination for locals and visitors.

4. What does "quality of life" mean to you? What would you support to ensure this ideal for taxpayers?

Quality of life represents different things to different people. For senior citizens it could mean access to good health care, stable housing costs and recreational opportunities. For young families, this could be meaningful employment opportunities, good education for their children, and suitable recreational facilities. To me, as a middle aged resident of Kenai, quality of life means stability and security. I have the peace of mind knowing that my family has benefitted from the opportunities that Kenai has had to offer us and knowing that our children plan to return here to live. Although investments by the City of Kenai into quality of life standards do not generate monetary returns, most residents would agree that it is a major reason for living in Kenai. That is why I advocate for continued funding and support for Senior Housing, Beautification, Parks and Recreation and access to our Beaches, Harbor, and the Kenai River.

5. If the city was to hold another town hall meeting like the one this past spring on sustainability, what topic should city officials and citizens examine?

I would like to see a townhall meeting that addresses impacts of the dipnet fishery within the City of Kenai as it effects landowners, businesses, residents, commercial fishermen, processors, sport fishing, tourists, beaches, river uplands, historic areas, City of Kenai resources such as fire, police, maintenance and operations. The State of Alaska issues 40,000 plus permits for this fishery, of which 90% are non Central Peninsula Residents. The City of Kenai has been forced to host this fishery annually in the month of July. This fishery was created by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in the mid 1990's with little input from the City of Kenai and no impact study. It has expanded annually since its inception. I feel that the residents of Kenai should be able to express their viewpoints on this issue and recommend ideas that would mitigate the impacts to City resources while improving the fishery.



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