LETTER: City of Port Alberni not listening to its residents

Only 432 people completed the survey…

To the Editor,

The city recently spent $48,500 on a consultant to conduct public input on the quay to quay path project that included two pop-ups, two open houses and an extremely one-sided survey. Only 432 people completed the survey. Of the 432 responses, only 296 people said they would use the path at least once a month and only 56 said they would use it daily.

In comparison, earlier this year I initiated an online petition for a new pool which garnered roughly 1,500 signatures from residents in the Port Alberni region, all of which were in favour of a new pool. In other words, only 1.8 percent of the population was in favour of the path, while nine percent were in favour of a new pool.

Sadly, it seems that what the residents want continues to fall on deaf ears; and in 2022 the city is moving forward with their strategic priority agenda of building the path even when the majority of people don’t support it.

Originally, the city stated that construction of the path was contingent upon obtaining grant funding of $2.5M of the estimated $7.5M cost of the path. But as it stands, the grant funding has not yet been secured, which means that taxpayers could end up paying for the entire project. My goal has been to persuade council to save the city’s portion of $5M they are using for the quay to quay path and use it towards a new aquatic centre, as I believe the majority of our residents want a pool over a new path. And the more that is saved for a new aquatic centre, the less money will need to be borrowed to fund it.

Having strategic priorities is helpful, but when they involve millions of dollars and clash with the needs and wants of the community, we all lose.

Randy Fraser,

Port Alberni

Port Alberni