LETTER: Upgrade to Highway 4 ‘long overdue’

To the Editor,

I write to you concerning ways to improve the poor economy of the long-forgotten Alberni Valley. The most important infrastructure change that could immediately benefit the economies of Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet, and Bamfield, would be the construction of new highways.

While many other BC communities have enjoyed years of infrastructure improvements, the Alberni area has received virtually no such benefits, although it has a population over 30,000.

Highway 4 is a slow and dangerous route that is poorly maintained. It is an impediment to tourism and dangerous for trucks, especially in the winter months.

A recent feasibility study for a new highway was rejected because of cost (only $25 million) and because it did not head south to Nanaimo. But consider that the proposed Horne Lake route reaches Highway 19 only eight minutes north of the present junction. It would also present new economic potentials between the Comox Valley and the Alberni Valley. If a southern route is preferred, start with Nanaimo River Road and extend it west of Mt. Arrowsmith.

But a new route should go beyond Port Alberni to Tofino and Ucluelet. This road needs extensive safety modifications, having dangerously narrow and winding sections. In addition, the route to Bamfield, where the famous West Coast Trail ends and where there is a research station, is a rocky two-hour drive on a gravel road in shameful condition. A new road to Bamfield could intersect with another to Lake Cowichan, which would open up the west coast of the island to new ventures.

In terms of population, the Alberni Valley is long overdue for an infrastructure upgrade. Just imagine the economic potential of this area, not just in terms of the lumber industry and the deep-sea port, but also the tremendous tourist potential.

Mark Blackham,

Port Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Vancouver Island communities receive gov’t funding for infrastructure projects

Huu-ay-aht First Nations builds community with $1.8M grant, one among six on Island

Island poets take the mic at July’s virtual Words on Fire in Port Alberni

Jude Neale, Joe Lunchbucket bring distinctly different styles to Quite Determined Literary Road Trip

Summer never ends at Port Alberni’s DRAW Gallery

Exhibit showcases four new Ucluelet artists

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

Port Alberni RCMP searching for missing man

Jeff Buck was last seen June 25, 2020

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read