LETTERS: What people are saying about Port Alberni

From a note of thanks from Santa Claus to suggestions for improving tourism, people are talking about our city.

 

To the Editor,

I wish to thank all residents of the Alberni Valley for their generosity during the holiday season to those in need.

Port Alberni is truly the Heart of Vancouver Island.

As a gift to all Alberni Valley residents, I will proclaim as I fly to your community on Dec. 25:   “Alberni Valley is the best place to live in the world!”

Santa Claus,

North Pole

Celebrate what we’ve got here

To the Editor,

Our community would benefit from more tourism. To help us divert some of the flow of Pacific Rim tourists, we need an attraction that no other island community can offer.

What have we got? We are surrounded by natural beauty that attracts nature lovers, hikers, bikers, birders, cyclists and fishers. We have miles of trails for access to our forests, lakes and streams. Among our other resources we have a community forest, an operating heritage mill, and an Industrial Heritage Society of skilled members and retirees who continually amaze me with their ingenuity and resourcefulness.

John Mayba had a great idea: a walking/cycling bridge across Rogers Creek. Well, I propose that we build it as a grand trestle bridge over the creek to connect matching contours using our own wood, mill, engineering and construction talents.

I imagine a wide pathway for strollers, separate lanes for cyclists and frequent viewing platforms off each side. It would emerge from the treetops at each end and provide overviews of the forest canopy and breathtaking scenery.

A homemade trestle should be fairly cheap and have minimal impact on the park beneath it.

If feasible, I would propose it to have a single traffic lane, wide enough to accommodate emergency vehicles only.

If done with imagination and flair, it might inspire newcomers, attract tourists and become an iconic landmark of Port Alberni which we will need when our mighty airplanes fly away.

Wesley Brick,

Port Alberni

City needs to cut police cost

 

To the Editor,

Re: Don’t cut our RCMP services, Letters, Dec. 11.

I’m pleased to see real discussion re: Port Alberni’s budget and even more with new Mayor Mike Ruttan’s willingness to examine genuine issues.

Residents seem to want lower taxes and more service. A cheaper source of pens won’t cut it. The largest component of 2013 expenditure is policing at 20 per cent, compared to 17 per cent for Parks & Rec, 13 per cent for public works, moving down the list.

In 2006 policing was 15 per cent. Meanwhile crime statistics in Port Alberni, as everywhere in B.C. and the developed world, are dropping like a stone due to demographic changes.

Our community is strong and safe. That the largest share of our public expense is policing is nonsensical to me. Do our police do good work? Of course, but public money is precious and must be used wisely.

Significant percentage changes to the largest budgetary components are the only way to rationalize our budget issues.

If policing went back to 15 per cent with a goal of being 10 per cent of the budget, would officers stop solving crimes or responding to calls for assistance?  Or would it reflect the real quality of life this city has to offer and possibly enable lower taxes or other programs and

services that would result in even more positive outcomes?

I suspect the latter is true.

Peter Ayres,

Port Alberni