Letters to the editor: rail, Olympic ideals and Pussy Riot

Feedback from our readers on the issues of the day in Alberni and abroad.

Keep our rail line intact

To the Editor,

I am delighted with the news that Southern Rail is serious about upgrading the rail line to Port Alberni and that they are approaching Compliance Energy regarding the transportation of coal from the proposed Raven Mine.

Nice to see some real dollar figures for the upgrade and not those inflated figures put forth by the truck lobbyists.

Chris Alemany has numerous times shown the efficiency, environmental and safety benefits of rail over trucks for bulk commodities. Yes safety, despite the negative press one reads regarding recent high profile incidents, rail is still far safer than road.

I for one would rather see one train per day than an additional 70 trucks on our highway.

By 1998, when I retired, close to 7,000 railcars a year were coming over the “hump” to the paper mill and yet within three years, thanks to some very poor decisions by Norske and RailAmerica these loads were transferred to trucks on our subsidized highway.  I am sure if the E&N Railway were upgraded for transportation of coal, containers or other bulk commodities to our port you would see Catalyst Paper also reverting to rail for import of clay, latex and export of paper.

Let us hope some of these projects move forward so that Port Alberni can thrive once more.

We have the technology to make these projects environmentally safe and we must insist that they do so.

The paper mill in 1969 was an air and water polluter, yet within 15 years there was tertiary water treatment discharging water so clean that we entertained raising tilapia in the warm water and you no longer needed car washes to remove particulate from your vehicles.

Let us keep our rail line intact, our children will forever thank us.

Hugh Grist,

Port Alberni

 

Embrace Olympic ideals

To the Editor,

Scientific teams at CERN’s particle accelerator employ massive amounts of electrical energy in a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets and smash atoms into their elementary particles in order to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Athletic teams around the world expend large amounts of biological energy in sporting activities associated with the five Olympic rings and push the limits of mental stamina in order to unlock the potential of the human body.

Mankind’s boundless curiosity, incredibility creativity and dogged determination — if benevolently focused — are mankind’s best hope for our future.

The core values of the Olympic movement are excellence, friendship and respect. The motto is Citius – Altius – Fortius, which is Latin for Faster – Higher – Stronger. After being exposed to two weeks of passionate competition, golden smiles and touching tears, one might wonder why world leaders don’t embrace the Olympic spirit and join together to pursue international peace faster; raise standards of justice higher; and grow iinterpersonal relationships stronger.

There is, however, a dark reality behind Sochi’s dazzling make-believe spectacle. President Vladimir Putin was compelled to promise his Winter Games would be secured by a “ring of steel” and 40,000 security personnel. The Olympic flame was officially extinguished at the end of the closing ceremonies but the flame of hope will burn forever.

Lloyd Atkins,

Vernon

 

Where were comparisons?

To the Editor,

Although I’ve been more interested in recent news reports from Kiev rather than Sochi, I would never rain on anyone’s Olympic parade. I do however have an observation on the Western media commentary.

The television, radio and print reports I followed from Canada, USA and England definitely appeared to accentuate the negative surrounding certain non-sporting aspects of what they referred to as Mr. Putin’s Games.

Maybe the biggest hullaballoo surrounded the arrest, treatment, short detention, and release of a group of balaclava-wearing self-declared anarchists  —  a punk band with the beguiling name of Pussy Riot.

The arrests were made by Russia’s Cossack Militia. As a group, Cossacks are famed as horsemen, so it would follow that Cossack Militia could be viewed as a mounted police in terminology that’s familiar in Canada.

From my chosen perch outside the box which is situated way out in left field, I remembered what happened on Day 2 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, when a group of balaclava-wearing self-declared anarchists called the Black Bloc rioted in downtown Vancouver, breaking several storefronts, etc.

Their disruptive mayhem was allegedly in protest against huge government funds spent on the 2010 Games, but I didn’t hear a single comparison from any media outlet.

Bernie Smith,

Parksville

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