Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
Alpine Aviation owner Gerd Mannsperger says his company is looking for long-term stability – and a decision city council made last Monday evening does nothing to address that.
“We’re really disappointed,” Mannsperger said in an interview last Thursday.
Council voted unanimously to uphold a bylaw order that Alpine Aviation remove the two-storey structure it uses at its site on Schwatka Lake through the summer.
While the company wanted to keep the structure, Mannsperger said, it’s getting ready to have it removed, and will respect the city order.
He stressed that the issue around structure – though part of the matter – was not the major focus of the company’s request.
The big disappointment from last Monday’s decision, Mannsperger said, is that it didn’t address the company’s request for a long-term arrangement to use the location years into the future.
The site works very well for tourism, he said.
Many who call Alpine Aviation to book a float plane tour have come across the company while driving by the site on Schwatka Lake, he pointed out.
The customer base, Mannsperger stressed, includes more than customers hiring Alpine Aviation to get them to a remote fishing area and the like.
The company had also asked to use the site for winter storage.
“It’s stability that we’re looking for,” Mannsperger said.
Pilots for the float plane company want to know they have a job to come back to next year, he noted.
Those pilots, he pointed out, have families to provide for, and that job security is very important.
Alpine Aviation, created in 1997, has been operating from the site since that summer, pulling a dock permit for the use of the area.
Along with its own operations, the company has a rescue boat and spill kit on hand for use by others who need it, Mannsperger indicated in an earlier presentation to council.
City staff explained earlier that the Schwatka Lake area plan doesn’t provide for permanency on the lake.
It was also noted there are different standards to be met for more permanent structures than is required for temporary structures.
The city also made it clear through the permits that the structure would have to be moved by Oct. 31, staff said.
When it hadn’t been removed by early November, the order was issued – with Alpine Aviation appealing the decision to city council.
In making that appeal, the company also sought the long-term arrangement with the city to secure the site.
Even just a letter or something indicating the company would have the space in future years would have gone a long way to providing security to a company that has been part of the community for years, Mannsperger told the Star.
“That’s really what we were asking for,” he said.
It’s really hard to have a good feeling when it seems like the city is not behind you, he said.
“Let us be part of this community,” he said. “Let us be proud of being here.”
Alpine Aviation is nothing without its staff, and he wants to give those staffers the security they need, Mannsperger said.
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