Wednesday, September 1, 2021
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Skagway residents and municipal leaders grapple with seasonal housing shortages | KHNS Radio

Backyard Metropolis RV Park in Skagway. Picture by Mike Swasey. With cruise ship visitors comes an inflow of seasonal staff…

By Staff , in RV Rentals , at September 1, 2021

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Backyard Metropolis RV Park in Skagway. Picture by Mike Swasey.

With cruise ship visitors comes an inflow of seasonal staff to supply meals and leisure to vacationers visiting Skagway. Because the pandemic induced many companies to shut no less than briefly, the seasonal housing disaster was placed on the again burner by municipal officers. However with cruise ships now returning, there are calls to revisit the state of affairs earlier than it’s too late. Some see an answer in an RV park that’s been empty because the pandemic began.


It’s known as the Skagway Shuffle. Throughout busy cruise ship summers, seasonal staff present as much as work with no place to reside. They crash on someone’s sofa or cut up a room till they ultimately take a job that gives affordable housing. Generally they find yourself sleeping of their automobiles parked on facet streets or sleeping in tents within the woods.

Some employers cram a dozen individuals into bunk rooms, others have seasonal housing that has no warmth. And nonetheless, different have individuals discovered their best choice was to reside in an RV in one of many native campgrounds. 

“Particularly whenever you’re married and you’ve got a canine, you don’t need to reside with a bunch of different individuals, you simply need to have like your individual little area. You understand,” mentioned Eatough.

That’s Raymie Eatough an area tour operator who used to reside seasonally in Backyard Metropolis RV park. She and her husband Joe each personal small companies and journey to the Decrease 48 within the winter to seek out work.

“It’s not like there’s plenty of jobs within the winter. So we select to depart in order that we are able to nonetheless usher in an revenue into our lives,” mentioned Eatough.

In order that leaves them with the unenviable place of looking for a spot to reside every summer season. In Could, municipal officers closed Backyard Metropolis RV park to seasonal housing. They’re in a rental now — however they are saying it gained’t be out there to them subsequent summer season

“We’re having a tough time discovering seasonal housing, we’ve been right here for 25 years. Take into consideration the way it’s going to be for those that haven’t been right here this lengthy and don’t know as many individuals as we all know,” questioned Eatough.

The proposed objective of the RV park as described by the borough supervisor is to host RV visitors from the Klondike Freeway. That visitors is anticipated to rebound sooner than cruise ship visitors as soon as the pandemic-related Canadian border restrictions are lifted and extra unbiased vacationers arrive. 

However the estimated prices of repairing electrical points plus water and sewer upgrades at Backyard Metropolis RV park are as excessive as $500,000.

The municipality bought the RV park in 2013 from a church group for $1.2 million-plus curiosity. It plans to maintain it open for nightly guests subsequent summer season but additionally needs to develop a long-term plan.

Assemblyperson Sam Bass says now could be the time to take motion. 

“What we’ve executed is we type of used a band-aid repair, which is an RV park the place individuals have began to make use of that as their seasonal housing, which I don’t assume that ever was the intent,” mentioned Bass

In 2020 the Meeting drafted plans to subdivide the property into as much as two dozen (WEB: 50-by-100 foot) tons. However then the pandemic put that on maintain. Bass says there are alternatives to deal with each the seasonal housing drawback and the shortage of inexpensive houses on the market in Skagway.

“We’re duplexes, triplexes, possibly even a apartment setup, relying on the way it’s developed. However by some means some option to develop and make out there extra housing for each seasonal of us and for year-round individuals. As a result of we want each of these,” mentioned Bass.

Plans have been mentioned by the meeting to place a brand new RV park close to the Stable Waste Dropoff and Composting facility on land already owned by the municipality on the north finish of city. However that web site doesn’t at the moment have water and sewer entry.

Bass says the positioning doesn’t want these. And he needs to get began on redeveloping each initiatives whereas admitting not a lot will seemingly be accomplished earlier than employees arrive for the 2022 cruise season.

“If we’re not prepared to make the sacrifice now, we’re simply going to maintain kicking that housing situation down the street. And ultimately, it’s going to get very, very unhealthy the place there’s no year-round housing, and there’s no extra seasonal housing as a result of it’s all full, then what can we do? We’re caught,” mentioned Bass.

The meeting had granted a waiver from the regulation forbidding RV leases on privately owned residential property. However that decision expired on Could 1, leaving individuals who need to reside seasonally of their RV with no authorized choices aside from to maneuver from campground to campground each two weeks. And with elections developing on October 5, the difficulty will seemingly must be addressed by these working for workplace.



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