McLean Mill Historic Park is a steam-operated sawmill located just north of Port Alberni. In 1989 it was designated as a national historic site of Canada. (Submitted photo)

McLean Mill Historic Park is a steam-operated sawmill located just north of Port Alberni. In 1989 it was designated as a national historic site of Canada. (Submitted photo)

LETTER: Who will speak out against city if not its citizens?

This coming July 1 will mark the 21st anniversary of the opening of McLean Mill…

To the Editor,

Negative, naysayer, complainer – all of these words have been used to describe citizens who, with evidence in hand, repeatedly tried to have issues of regulatory or operational compliance at McLean Mill National Historic Site get addressed by council before those issues morphed into larger problems—such as $1.25 million oil spills.

Rather than viewing the evidence objectively, council regularly dismissed it, while continuing to endorse usage of the McLean Mill property that is uncompliant with acts, resolutions and covenants having effect on the land. Ironic, in that this council has beefed up its own bylaw department to crack down on property owners within the city for non-compliant use.

Citizens are right to expect their council, or city contractors, to be cognizant of any acts, regulations and bylaws governing the use of city-owned land, along with the expectation that compliance is an obligation by all individuals and entities, regardless of their social, ethnic or corporate status. And yet, at the city-owned McLean Mill site, successive councils, including the current iteration, have avoided, dismissed or outright ignored their responsibility to ensure the city’s compliance with applicable rules having effect on the land there.

If the end result of citizen expectations for council to act in good faith, to remain accountable for the spending of public money, and to be compliant with the acts and regulations on the McLean Mill land, is that those citizens are seen as negative, naysayers, or complainers of McLean Mill, then lump me in with that bunch.

This coming July 1 will mark the 21st anniversary of the opening of McLean Mill. At least $25 million has been directed into the project to date, with more than $2 million needing to be spent in the near term just to keep going. Can that financial reality, and use of public funds, be viewed positively?

Roland Smith,

Port Alberni

McLean Mill

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