Activists in Juneau, Alaska filed paperwork that could lead to local ballot questions in the fall asking voters to limit cruise ship access to the capital.
The official paperwork was filed by Karla Hart who’s been critical of the crowding and impact on quality of life that grew with cruise ship tourism. Hart is also concerned the port city has become too dependent on the economic power wielded by a number of cruise companies.
Hart proposed 3 amendments to the City and Borough of Juneau’s charter:
- banning large cruise ships in town between 7 p.m.-7 a.m.
- banning large cruise ships on Saturdays
- banning cruise ships over a certain size beginning in 2026 (affecting mega-ships like Ovation of the Seas and some of the less extraordinary vessels that have visited the port for years.
Hart added she was not trying to stop the cruise industry, just strike a better balance. Her paperwork is the first line in the ballot initiative process. The city clerk has until May 3 to deny or certify the paperwork.
If there are no problems, the next hurdle of the organizers will be to collect ~3000 signatures of qualified voters in 30 days. Charter amendment questions could appear on ballots during the next regular municipal election on October 5.
According to industry group Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Alaska, the possibility of a second season without cruise traffic was hurting Juneau, and Hart’s initiatives could lead to further losses that “would devastate Juneau even more.”
Before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, tourism was the biggest private-sector employer of Juneau.