Alberni’s uptown demise started decades ago

Municipal and development decisions made in Alberni's decades ago lead to the blighted condition of uptown today, one reader says.

To the Editor,

How do you revive the dead duck of our uptown area of vacant and derelict buildings, thrift stores, social service agencies, and heavy truck traffic, as our mayor hopes to do?

Besides the aforementioned, uptown consists of the banks, Zellers, Merit Furniture, Carter’s Shoe Repair, and several other small businesses; hardly a tourist mecca.

It’s also a seedy area of drugs and prostitution, not a place to be at night.

In short, it can’t be saved, and its demise started more than 30 years ago when a new mall opened along the upper Johnston Road corridor.

Later more zoning changes allowed for Walmart and Extra Foods to come in and a new outdoor mall to be created across the street from the original indoor mall.

The main post office closed (another derelict building) and many other South Port businesses also flew the coup and moved to North Port and the Johnston Road corridor.

All this has occurred with the blessings and facilitation of successive city councils who in recent years have complained about the sad state of the old South Port business district. What delicious irony.

Although businesses at 10th Avenue and Redford Street carry on, the de facto city centre is now the Johnston Road corridor.

That’s where the action is and where most of the businesses are located.

The die was cast years ago and we’re left with the remains of a decaying dead duck in uptown South Port. And, as usual, we all know who the quacks responsible for the mess are.

Richard Berg,

Port Alberni

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