Rocket launch site not out of the realm of possibility

Readers thinking the News’s cover story on a space launching facility is an elaborate April Fool’s joke should doublecheck the dateline.

It is indeed true that an astrophysicist is touting the Alberni Valley and the West Coast as ideal territory to launch rockets, satellites and such into space.

Redouane Al Fakir, president of Space Launch Canada, broached the subject at a recent space conference held at the University of B.C. in Vancouver. He has already toured the region and is working with others to formulate a plan that would see Canada’s first-ever space launch as early as 2015.

The idea of bringing academia closer to our former pulp and paper town is not so far-fetched. One has only to go to the end of Cherry Creek Road, where Pacific Coast University will soon open its doors, to realize it is already happening.

For those who say it’s too big a plan for Port Alberni, we say there is nothing wrong with dreaming big—especially when the plans come with hefty economic price tags. The last launch from the Kodiak Launch Facility on Kodiak Island, Alaska, which happened in November, was worth $170 million.

While we realize much of that benefited a private enterprise, there is no doubt a plan such as this would be economically beneficial to the Alberni Valley—even if it only meant more people would relocate to the region.

Perhaps it’s time to start mining our intellectual resources instead of our natural resources.

Alberni Valley News