To the Editor,
I was surprised to see a majority of people responding negatively to the Alberni Valley News poll on making the Hole-in-the-Wall a tourist attraction.
Something needs to be done whether the majority is against it or not.
I Googled Hole-in-the-Wall to see how many sites promoted it. I stopped counting sites mentioning Hole-in-the-Wall at 50.
They include, the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, three hiking apps, Trip Advisor, Flickr, several blogs, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and many, many more.
There is even a Chinese language site featuring it. Word-of-mouth is also an important factor in the popularity of the site.
Closing the attraction without notifying all these sites would result in a lot of unhappy visitors, and damage to Port Alberni’s fragile reputation for tourism.
Crowds start in April and go into October at both entrances.
They are regularly plugged up with vehicles, with the overflow going into Coombs Country Candy. Erosion, trampling and garbage are also an issue.
It is high time that the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, landowner Mosaic Forest Management and the highways ministry sit down and come up with a plan. Investment is necessary.
To Mosaic, I say that there may be a way to lease some property and therefore get some revenue from the land, perhaps from admission charges.
Those same admission charges could also pay for the investment in parking, way-finding, and maintenance.
Perhaps also, a resort developer could work with the parties to add value to the area.
It is easy to throw out ideas. Perhaps some of them will spark an idea in someone’s head, who is better positioned than I am to make things happen. Leading public opinion is an important quality of leadership. I have to trust that our leaders agree. But I think something has to change, because the alternative is increased degradation of the attraction itself.