LETTER: Potato-throwing, panhandling and potential in Port Alberni

To the Editor,

Re: Question of the Week, June 6, on transforming part of Third Avenue

I would like to acknowledge the great efforts the business community and city council has undertaken to reenergize and improve the reputation of Third Avenue. “Potential” is central. Gaiga Square and the butterfly bench are inviting and beautiful.

Now my two cents worth in terms of livability combined with feeling safe on Third Avenue. Herein lies the potato-throwing story. While driving along Third Avenue, much to my surprise potatoes were thrown in the direction of vehicles. This practice on the one hand is seemingly humorous, and yet on the other hand dangerous for drivers.

A potato should be appreciated for its nutritional value and not used as a tool of aggression.

The increased panhandling along Third Avenue is also disconcerting. As a result, it is rather uncomfortable and awkward to experience. Therefore, some people choose to avoid the location all together. Thus, one reason “the park [Gaiga Square] is under-utilized”.

To conclude, I think “potential” will prevail. There is a great opportunity for a “livable Uptown” that includes a “more pedestrian friendly” environment by reshaping, restructuring and reinventing the location that incorporates safety concern issues.

If there is a will there is a way.

It is encouraging to note the determination and dedication of individuals who are committed to championing a creative solution to unlocking the “potential”. A more pedestrian friendly Third Avenue is a terrific idea.

R. Friel,

Port Alberni

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