LETTER: City too focused on ‘pie in the sky’ ideas like walkway

I worry about the direction the mayor and council have been taking…

To the Editor,

As a retired taxpayer in Port Alberni, I worry about the direction the mayor and council have been taking. I am very aware that it is much easier to coach from the sidelines than it is to make decisions from the trenches. Having said that I wish to speak out about a couple of issues.

First, the acquisition of the Somass Mill property from Western Forest Products. In my opinion, this city cannot afford that property even if it were left cleaned up, but to pay a huge sum for that property and then have to clean it ourselves is excessive. If indeed it gets cleaned off, it still it will be rife for tsunami damage.

This brings to mind the shellacking the city took financially when it took over the site of the plywood mill.

Secondly, the proposed “harbour to harbour walkway.” This walkway is a pie in the sky dream of someone who has no interest in balancing the books. It is a nice idea and just maybe we should start an account so that we can afford it some day, but we cannot afford it now.

This proposed walk will not bring even one dollar to the city. Nobody, but nobody will come to Port Alberni to walk that walkway. They may indeed walk it if they come here but they will not come for the purpose of walking it.

If city council wishes to be progressive, then lets spend money where it will be truly beneficial to the city. What comes to mind is the need for a 10th Avenue crossing more than any pie in the sky venture. Port Alberni taxpayers voted for that crossing years ago but councils have ignored it. Creating a crossing in that area would serve our emergency vehicles as well ease the traffic snarl at Johnston Road and Gertrude Street. I wrote to council three years ago about getting on the government’s back about the condition of the highway only to be told that is the purview of the regional district. I guess it never occurred to anyone to get on the regional district’s back to do the same. If we ever want to attract tourists, the present highway will not suffice.

Ernest Burnett,

Port Alberni

Municipal GovernmentPort Alberni