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LETTER: Land use, ownership challenging when breaking trails

Former Port Alberni city councillor says don’t write off small trail just yet

To the Editor,

Re: ‘New’ Dry Creek path falls into disrepair, May 6, 2021.

Change often comes in fits and starts, other times, it appears all at once. It’s getting to the end that matters. Just last month we tried to walk beside Dry Creek on Third Avenue and were surprised to see its state.

Dry Creek could be a mini-version of the Kitsuksis Dyke: Paved and smooth, nicely tended, with people going to and fro. It’s not there yet, and has now fallen back a bit, but it still could be.

Land ownership is always challenging. It’s odd Western Forest Products (WFP) and Island Timberlands (IT/Mosaic) did not grant the city an easement to release Dry Creek and the east bank. There is no corporate value in the creek, but significant communal value. Perhaps the city could purchase the Mosaic property beside Smitty’s and create a nice rest area alongside the creek like it did with the new Millstone Park at Victoria Quay?

In time, I hope the City and ACRD will also finally call up the Island Railway folks and start working on a trail beside the tracks to Beaver Creek, McLean Mill, the Log Train Trail, even Sproat Lake, but it makes sense that a new community pool is a more immediate priority. It’s had more than its fair share of stalled progress.

All these projects, whether they happen in small steps or giant leaps, help build and improve our city and make it more desirable for all. We just have to keep that end goal in sight and keep going.

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni

(Editor’s note: Chris Alemany was a city councillor in 2015 when the Dry Creek flood abatement project was completed. The city had five-year land agreements with both WFP and IT for access to the easements along the Dry Creek path, however, they lapsed on Jan. 31, 2020.)

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