To the Editor,
Port Alberni Mayor John Douglas seems mainly to rely on hope and cosy chats with cabinet ministers for economic development.
He shows no understanding of economics, infrastructure, or transportation, a new highway and a container terminal being cases in point.
He thinks that 750,000 Vancouver Island residents would be well served by a container port down the Alberni Inlet, not realizing that many goods destined for the Island have to go first to warehouses in Vancouver and elsewhere. They then can be shipped back to Nanaimo, which is now developing a new container facility.
Although it’s been stated that barge traffic to and from Vancouver from down the Alberni Inlet would be adversely affected by bad weather just two or three times a year, myself and others think that this is an optimistic view. Towed barges move a lot slower than ships.
And what Island products would be shipped from here by containers? Certainly not our major export, raw logs, nor much lumber, nor any coal.
Lastly, to my knowledge, Port Metro Vancouver can handle increased container traffic for several more years yet.
As for a new highway, it’s not a realistic project for the foreseeable future.
In sum, the continuous spate of propaganda about speculative projects from the mayor seems more to do with his re-election campaign than with actual economic development. It does this community a disservice because it creates false hope in an economically depressed area which has lost about 6,000 high-paying jobs in the forest industry alone, for example, about 1,200 each at the Somass and Catalyst mills.