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LETTER: Port Alberni’s expropriation plans for Somass mill ill-conceived

Cost would be too great, benefits too little for city, says letter writer

To the Editor,

I am compelled to voice my opinion on the city’s move to expropriate Western Forest Products’ (WFP’s) Somass Sawmill lands.

While I agree that it is not in the city’s interest for the mill to sit idle, I believe expropriation sets a dangerous precedent. Could this happen to any of us who own land within the city, if our land is temporarily left vacant or “not up to city standards?” And this is happening even though they continue to pay their annual municipal taxes.

Western says it’s “an open and committed partner to the City of Port Alberni.” Why are they letting the mill sit dormant for so long? It would be nice to know what their plans are.

The idea of having residential development in this area is like building houses by an airport, where residents then complain about the noise. It is an industrial site—which also sits on a flood plain—and not conducive to residential dwellings.

I would like nothing better than to see the land sold to the San Group, a company that has already proven their commitment to our community and that clearly wants to get down to business and open things up there.

Final note: Where will the City get the possibly millions of dollars to buy the site? Money that could be put to much better use in building a pool.

Lorraine Brunt,

Port Alberni

forestryPort Alberni