To the Editor,
I’m writing to express my utter frustration with the City of Port Alberni’s financial priorities.
It was with great disappointment I learned of cuts to our already aged community pool. Recreation centres are incredibly important towards building healthy communities and play a role in keeping our residents healthy and reducing their risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In particular, pools offer an alternative to land-based exercise which many people find more enjoyable but are also important for older adults, those of differing abilities, and those recovering from injuries because it is non-weight-bearing.
I am also struggling to comprehend why the city has so grossly neglected its parks and trails. Well-designed parks and trails are another staple of healthy communities and Port Alberni is due to invest time and money to upgrade the valley’s trail systems – making them more appealing and user-friendly.
Simple investments in our trail systems could go a long way to ensure they are better used and enjoyed. For example, most trails do not have a garbage can at the trail head, which discourages individuals from cleaning up after themselves and their pets.
I also believe Port Alberni is missing a huge opportunity by neglecting the Log Train Trail – with proper care Port Alberni could have its equivalent of Victoria’s Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails, but instead this trail is poorly signed, is a victim to perpetual active logging, and appears never to have been graded as most months of the year it becomes one giant puddle.
I was appalled to read the city is offering $10,000 for information about the McLean Mill vandalism yet has to cut pool hours. While history is certainly important, we need to invest in our future. We need to create a vibrant, healthy community – this will attract more residents and tourists much more than a new $25,000 “welcome” sign.