To the Editor,
With the final year of the Port Alberni city council’s term winding down, it is time to assess councillors’ performance since being elected.
What has city council done, in the last three years of its mandate, to build our economy and aggressively sell Port Alberni as a great place to do business? The answer is – not much.
There was an excellent TV ad entitled “I Get It” that ran for a few months last summer that made Port Alberni look like an attractive waterfront community. But, ironically, council orchestrated the secret giveaway of the plywood waterfront lands to an Ontario company, ensuring that Canal Waterfront Park could never expand.
Acres of our unused waterfront are sitting derelict and unused. Think of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, Victoria’s Inner Harbour and the Gorge, Nanaimo’s Swy-A-Lana Lagoon—all waterfront lands that have been reclaimed from industry, and developed for housing, recreation, and tourism. It’s time we did the same, instead of waiting for industry to rescue our dormant economy.
Port Alberni is a waterfront community with a spectacular deep sea port, a vibrant First Nations culture, and a beautiful natural setting. While the rest of the Vancouver Island economy thrives, Port Alberni’s is stagnant, and population growth is zero.
Sears, Somass Mill, 7-Eleven downtown, the Pine Cafe, recently closed. Council was silent when Fairway Market announced its demise, putting 40 employees out of work. Is it any wonder that PA was recently cited for having the most poverty and crime in B.C?
Port Alberni council needs to do better. We need a council that has a vision, that will work tirelessly with the MLA and MP to actively promote this city, for the benefit of all citizens—not just for a few fading industries.