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LETTER: Good planning now will save City of Port Alberni in long run

I felt compelled to write regarding the need to relocate the City of Port Alberni’s works yard…

To the Editor,

Re: Relocating Port Alberni’s public works yard ‘below low priority’, Jan. 29 Letters.

I normally agree heartily with Mr. Lyman Jardin’s letters so it is with some surprise that I felt compelled to write regarding the need to relocate the City of Port Alberni’s works yard.

Mr. Jardin makes a good point that the railway acts as a berm. However, as we saw in Fukushima, disaster was created not by the mega-thrust earthquake, but rather documents and testimony from engineers indicate the wall built was just shy of recommendations.

Japan provides us the precise timing of the last mega-thrust earthquake on the West Coast: around 9 p.m. on Jan. 26, 1700. This event is etched into Nuu-chah-nulth oral and living histories. That earthquake created a series of inundations up to 16 metres (52 feet) high. This informs the worst case envisioned by scientists as a 20-metre inundation. The railway is about 15 metres elevation at Roger Street. The tsunami in 1700 washed up all the way to Glenwood Drive. Imagine Rogers Creek flowing backwards nearly one-third the way up under the railway trestle.

If the paper mill ever closed, you can expect BC Hydro to move the substation out of the inundation zone. Their new office was built on Tebo Avenue. The old BC Tel building and yard on Sixth Avenue sits nearly derelict. The new RCMP building is between Eighth and Ninth Avenue.

There is no reason for panic, however, good planning means making a move when the time is right, as other agencies have done. A tsunami could happen tomorrow, or 100 years from now when sea levels are one or two metres higher. The City Works buildings and yard are in need of replacement or complete renovation today. It is prudent of the city to find a location where there is much less chance of becoming part of any future disaster.

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni


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