LETTER: More thought needed before new sawmill breaks ground in Port Alberni

It is apparently good news that a new sawmill is coming to Port Alberni…

To the Editor,

It is apparently good news that a new sawmill is coming to Port Alberni. It is interesting to hear the new owners regard Port Alberni as the place “where it all started” insofar as sawmills, logging, and the forestry industry are concerned. That may be of some importance to those with a nostalgic historical bent for the machine age, however it has no resonance for many more, and certainly has no bearing on anything substantial.

I myself don’t mind sawmills and logging and trucks all over the streets galore because It keeps gentrification at bay and all that obstentacious wealth that comes with it. The tight corner on the main entrance to this site is quite busy as is, and is fed by River Road. Is that going to be the entrance for fibre (read trees) supply?

There is a concern from many, over how many more logging trucks are going to be barreling down River Road or over the Hump and along our streets. There is a concern about how many more heavy lumber carrying vehicles will be on the roads in and around the new proposed sawmill and how that will affect the residents and business along such streets.

The amount of industrial noise, effluents, and airborne discharges are another matter entirely. Clearly jobs matter, however the rest of society should not have to pay with their health and wellbeing to create these jobs.

It has been suggested that Port Alberni would be better off without courting such heavy industries. I’m not saying this project should not go ahead, it may be the best thing since sliced bread; however I am saying there has been very little discussion of the changes that will take place particularly in the degradation of the quality of life (if any) for those not making any money from the proposed sawmill.

Perhaps city council and the new mayor might want to discuss this. How will this affect real estate sales? The waterway? How will this affect the slowly growing attractiveness of Port Alberni as a place to retire or live with a family? There may not be much of a net gain when all is said and done, and certainly it will become a noisier more congested place with he additional truck traffic and machinery operating day and night.

I think a bit of consideration for the environment and public health is still warranted. Some widening of the discussion is always a good way to obtain the social contract that modern corporations seek before breaking ground.

Mike Wright,

Port Alberni

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