LETTER: Alberni taxpayers deserve answers on ‘gravy’ train

Roland Smith should be thanked for going the extra mile to get some very basic information.

To the Editor,

Re: Resident wants answers about railway, AV News, Oct. 18.

Roland Smith should be thanked for going the extra mile to get some very basic information. Who owns the Alberni Valley Railway? is a very basic question and should require about 15 seconds to answer.

Obviously, this smells bad, and I must rescind my letter of several weeks ago saying, with proper fiscal oversight the railway should get the money to fix its tressles and tracks.

Until this corporate mystery is unraveled, definitely no funding whatsoever should be made available. Moreover it is council’s due diligence that taxpayers’ money is not given to anything but bona fide public services or non-profit corporations. It goes without saying these should be arm’s length from council to avoid conflict of interest problems.

I (among many others) would like to know who has been receiving wages, and how much, on the train? I thought a few nice old timers had put together a non-profit and fixed up a steam train, and were running it as a hobby, then morphed it into a tourist venue.

May we please have the truth. Who gets paid what? What public funds have gone into this over the last five years, and how have these been dispersed within the organization? Naturally the honest to goodness volunteers involved in all this deserve all the praise in the world….yet some questions do need to be answered.

God knows the hardworking taxpayers of Port Alberni do not want to be pumping money into a mysteriously owned “Gravy Train” so that a few people can enjoy their pet project. If the city owns this thing, then why the shell game?

Mike Wright,

Port Alberni

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