The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Ice machine proposed for marina


Wahkiakum County Port 1 Commissioners listened to a proposal for the placement of a mobile ice machine at the marina and a proposal for a partnership with a local rowing club in the purchase of a boat at their meeting last Thursday.

“Mike and Carrie Backman, through the extension service are working on a longer term project with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and Columbia River fishermen, looking at alternative fishing gear and fisheries to try and help out the fishermen here in the local area and on the Lower Columbia,” said Allan Bennett, who was in attendance with Mike Backman. “That not only includes looking at different types of fishing equipment, fishing areas, techniques and such, that also includes processing the fish for direct sales to end consumers.

“Part of that includes classes and a collective flake ice machine for providing ice for commercial fishermen and mobile fish processing units. So what we’re looking at right now is a component of the overall program and that is an ice machine, to get started.”

The group was looking at various places throughout the community and determined that the marina was the best spot because it was centrally located and had access to power and water.

The grant will allow them to purchase a flake ice machine and a 20 foot Conex box that will provide two tons of flake ice every 24 hours. It will also pay for the electrical and water hook ups necessary to support the machine.

Backman addressed their plans to “offset your cost of having your employees down there making the ice,” by allowing the port to sell some of the ice.

“We don’t have employees, we don’t have money in this grant to hire somebody to run the ice machine,” Backman said, “but you already have people here you can have them turn on the ice machine. It saves a lot of cost.”

This was the first time Port Manager Jackie Lea had heard that the port employees would be responsible for running the machine.

Commissioners discussed the locations at the marina that Bennett and Backman presented as preferred spots for the ice machine.

“We want the least disruption for the port,” Bennett said. Backman added that they hoped to have the ice machine by August.

After some discussion, the commissioners were in consensus that Bennett and Backman could move forward on the project, but they agreed that several matters still needed to be worked out.

In the next order of business, Julius Dalzell and Allan Bennett, who organized an unofficial rowing club, and provide rowing lessons, proposed that the port consider purchasing a boat in partnership with them.

“We’ve got a wonderful working relationship with the port,” Dalzell said. “Do you think the port would be interested in being a partner in this craft and we could use this for joint purposes? In many ways what we do that here by having the Wooden Boat Festival. By doing 90 percent of our activities here we are a partner anyway, and we enjoy that partnership.”

Dalzell suggested that the boat would be an opportunity for the port to diversify, and could be used for marketing. He said that he would provide rowing lessons in the vessel, and they could have classes for youth.

Commissioners had many concerns, but also recognized some possible benefits. Ultimately they decided to pass on the opportunity, because Dalzell needed to notify the seller the next day, and there were questions about liability that could not be answered before then.

“I don’t think this is an absolute no,” Commissioner Brett Deaton said.

Finally, commissioners discussed sandblasting and painting the tugboat in preparations for the future dredging.


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