Letters to the editor: council largesse, coal money and rail talks

Letters to the editor from Port Alberni and points beyond.

Council raises unnecessary

To the Editor,

Re: council pay raises.

Raising councils stipend will benefit future councils? Seniors are already struggling to pay yearly increasing taxes, hydro etc. and yet the mayor of Port Alberni seems to think we have to get people to run for council with more money instead of what they can contribute to the city.

Isn’t this getting paid for the job before they earn it?

Maybe quit comparing us to other cities that may have more income or better management than ours.

Thank you to Cindy Solda and Hira Chopra for speaking out against this raise.

M.E. Kubel,

Port Alberni

 

Where is cash from mining?

To the Editor,

Cuts in education should not be happening if what big industry and the mining association of B.C. says and does to promote mining in our province. They have tried to assure the public that the millions of dollars from mining that goes to our government  should benefit the residents of B.C. by funding education and other programs.

Mining Association vice-president, Angela Waterman, wrote a letter published in the Comox Valley Record Aug. 28, 2012 defending the largely unwanted and  controversial Raven Coal mine proposed above the crystal clear waters of Baynes Sound, where one of B.C.’s most sustainable food industries has existed for more than a 100 years, contributing millions annually to the local economy.  Her letter stated, “Mining contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to government revenues that can be used to fund important programs like health and education”.

Since she wrote these words, headlines across the province read, “School closures one way to cut hydro bills says B.C. education minister”, “B.C. government cutting $70M from advanced education”, “Aboriginal children’s programs in B.C. brace for funding cuts”, “Spending cuts in B.C. school districts feed worries about special education”, “BCTF decries second decade of cuts in B.C. Schools”,  “B.C. government cuts $16M in education funding”, “School closures confirmed in Parksville-Qualicum Beach”, “Cash-strapped Alberni school district looks at closures”.

Where are the hundreds of millions of dollars that the government receives from the mining industry going, if not to education, or health for that matter, in our province?

This is just one industry, so what of the plethora of other industries that give the government of B.C. hundreds of millions of dollars as well?

Stacey Gaiga,

Port Alberni

 

Push is on for more rail talks

To the Editor,

Re: We cannot go backwards when it comes to rail and ICF, Letters, Feb. 13.

With rhetoric seeming to be heating up on the railway front, a movement has begun to try to help things get on track (pun intended). Readers can go to www.vifreightbyrail.ca and send, or sign up to be included in, a weekly letter to VIA Rail and Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (SVI) encouraging the two parties to conclude their negotiations.

Whether those negotiations produce an agreement or not, who knows.  However, VIA Rail and SVI have both responded to the first two weeks of letters with VIA insisting the money is not enough and SVI providing a BC Safety Authority letter saying it is.

Clearly there is an impasse in these negotiations and the public, and railway, is effectively being held hostage. This is not fair to the provincial, federal and local governments that agreed to the funding, nor is it fair to the people of Vancouver Island. Two years is far too long for any negotiation, especially when there are provisions for mediation.

So if readers would like things to just get over and done with, I encourage them to go to www.vifreightbyrail.ca and participate in the weekly letter campaign pressuring these two companies to talk. The letters will be sent until a resolution is achieved.

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni

 

Pipe dreams and nightmares

To the Editor,

There will always be people who can’t look beyond their own backyard. Then, there are people who have walked out of their yard, entered the neighbouring village, walked to another town, and—horror of horrors—even crossed a border to another country.

The following people stand behind Neil Young: Clayton Ruby, David Suzuki, Members of the Order of Canada; Stephen Lewis, Companion of the Order of Canada; Michael Ondaatje and David Schindler, Officers of the Order of Canada. Professor Schindler has 26 other awards, based on his contribution to environmental research.

Yes, bully for democracy indeed. The latest poll shows that 64 per cent of the “silent majority” does not approve of the Northern Gateway pipeline to B.C. coast, or the ensuing tanker traffic.

Rayana Erland,

Port Alberni

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