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Letters to the Editor: February 22, 2012

Community deserves better Well, Powell River, it is really sad to see BC Ferries at a stalemate in your city [“Mechanical problem docks ferry,” February 8]. I remember when the department of highways’ Comox Queen was on the run.

Community deserves better

Well, Powell River, it is really sad to see BC Ferries at a stalemate in your city [“Mechanical problem docks ferry,” February 8].

I remember when the department of highways’ Comox Queen was on the run. At least it was running and hit a few storms but made it across. I remember working on her on the summer run from May until September after the long weekend, but never stopped and made extra trips for our people.

BC Ferries needs to think of Powell River more and make sure Powell River people are looked after better. A new ferry is needed on the route and fewer breakdowns. People of Powell River need a better ferry for medical, sports and holiday travel to Vancouver Island.

There is a BC ferry docked at Wood Fibre in Howe Sound that’s sitting doing nothing. It has been there since the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I guess there is a crew looking after it.

I think Powell River deserves more from BC Ferries because it’s our only way to access the beautiful city and enjoy vacation time at or away from our city, my home town.

Cliff Lang

Squamish, BC

BC Ferries is awesome

Hold on, did I just say that? I did, but let me make it crystal clear. The worker bees or the people who actually do the work for BC Ferries, day in day out, are awesome. Let’s be clear: BC Ferries, the corporation, sucks [“Texada residents protest reduced ferry service,” February 15].

I travelled to Little River this week and felt like I was in a movie, The Neverending Journey, and then I had to come back. As I travelled on the Tachek and then the North Island Princess (NIP) I had lots of time to look around me (I believe I may have knitted a whole sweater). As I looked around I realized that a lot of the crew were from the Texada run and they were working hard (as usual) and doing their best under very difficult circumstances.

The crew of the NIP, the Tachek and let’s not forget the people who work at the terminal and ticket booth in Powell River, are doing an awesome job. They do not make the decisions, they just make it work and let’s be honest, it can’t be any fun going to and from Vancouver Island in the NIP at 11 or 12:30 at night in February.

Sharon Black

Sanderson Road, Texada Island

Another blunder?

It is common knowledge that municipalities across Canada have been encumbering themselves with debt at a faster rate than revenue income, leading to a coming crisis in municipal finance. With the talk of constructing a new library, without any means having been set aside to finance the project, it seems Powell River wants to follow the herd [“Architects unveil preliminary drawings for new library,” February 8]. Calling for detailed design drawings, when there is no apparent finance for the project, seems to suggest an organization financially not under control.

Add to this the site problems, where City of Powell River council has been told by many taxpayers that the old arena site is not suited, one wonders who is in charge.

A library’s first function should be a place where people come to look for reading material or information, not to look out the window. Very often libraries, like stores, have their windows blocked off because of the necessity for space reasons to have shelving units on that wall. Libraries should be central and accessible. I have never known anyone refusing to use a library because the building didn’t look good, or because it had no view.

Also, the “apparent decision” to use the Willingdon Beach site, which is already a dangerous traffic and pedestrian intersection without the additional traffic a library would create, seems to lack forethought. There seem to be a variety of real estate rentals available in Powell River. I have heard it said that a library can’t use these sites because they are not earthquake proof. Are they any less earthquake proof than the present library? If these buildings are deemed dangerous to city employees and the public, why are they licenced by the city for use by anyone?

When you look at the most pleasing municipalities for residents and tourists, they all seem to have three things in common—beautiful views, parks and open spaces. We already committed one blunder with the sewage treatment plant on beautiful waterfront in the downtown core; please don’t make another one.

Peter Scott

Abbotsford Street

Taxpayer’s concerns

After open houses, petitions, editorials, viewpoints, letters to the editor and elections, all expressing opinions against the location of the new library on the waterfront, the council of the day chose that exact spot [“Architects unveil preliminary drawings for new library,” February 8].

This property belongs to the City of Powell River taxpayers to be used as a park and enjoyed by anyone wishing to go there, not just library users. I agree that we need an updated library but not on the waterfront. Waterfront is not being made anymore.

My suggestion is that we expand the current library into the parking lot and there will still be a view of the water, islands, ferry/boat traffic and easier access to the bus route than the new chosen site.

The current plans for the architect, et cetera, should be put on hold until we are in a better financial situation to be able to take on more debt. Naturally, the chief librarian is opposed to any change now but it may have to happen.

We don’t know what is happening with Catalyst Paper Corporation, there are still balances owing on the latest big projects—-north and south boat harbours, the Wharf at Westview and the water reservoir on Haslam Street. We will start paying these off on our tax notices this year.

Now City of Powell River council wants to apply for new grants for the seating at Timberlane track and/or for the clearcut at Powell River Recreation Complex and before long it will be one for the library. What happened to “tighten our belts” and control taxes?

We have a lot more urgent projects to spend our money on now—our firehall needs to be upgraded or replaced, some of our roads are a mess and old water lines need replacing.

On a positive note, the suggestion by Lynne Nott on February 1 on raising money for Patricia Theatre is an excellent idea and hopefully it all works out for Ann and Brian Nelson. I’m sure most of us have enjoyed watching something at the threatre.

JM Deptuck

Surrey Street

Senior’s nightmare

On February 10, I arrived at Westview ferry terminal for the 8:10 am ferry to Comox, with a connecting flight with Westjet to Calgary at 11:20 am [“Perfect storm,” February 8]. Upon arriving at your ferry one hour prior to boarding the lineups were so long that only half of the cars were allowed on. As far as I’m concerned, BC Ferries should know approximately how many cars and trucks every day cross from Powell River to Comox or vice versa and should have a ferry that can handle that amount of expected traffic. It must know what its ferry handles every day; it has been in business for a very long time. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

I found the staff was very confused and not informed of what ferry was going where or what ferry was even loading at the time. There were two ferries to be loaded, one for Comox and one for Texada. Therefore, half the people were turned away, left with the problem of finding alternative ways to leave Powell River.

I managed to get a ticket with Pacific Coastal Airlines to Vancouver at a cost of $146. As I would not be able to make my Westjet connection, I was forced to reschedule my flight to one from Vancouver to Calgary at an additional cost of $126.70 for my ticket and taxi fare from Vancouver’s south terminal to the main terminal building of $18. This was a totally unexpected cost of $290.70 (especially difficult for a senior citizen). It was totally and completely due to an inadequate ferry service.

I would not recommend anybody travel by air and ferry schedules because they are not reliable and could cost you extra money. It is to my amazement there are 20,000 people living in Powell River area connecting to Vancouver Island with a population of 800,000 people only by air and BC Ferries. If BC ever expects to increase its tourist business it will have to increase its roads and bridges to and from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Gilbert Engerdahl

Calgary, Alberta

Library could reinvent city

Powell River is going through a hard time, there is no doubt about that. So what do we do? Do we shrink in fear or do we reinvent ourselves and make our beautiful community even more inviting by building in our magnificent communal space (Willingdon Beach) a library [“Architects unveil preliminary drawings for new library,” February 8]. This would not be only a library but a place where you could go for a walk, take in the glorious view, and sit on a park bench and read the book you just borrowed from the library. It would be a place admired and talked about by visitors and potential new residents.

Powell River would be known as a place that learning and sharing is up and centre in our city. The park would be a place to take our kids and grandkids where they would not only enjoy the outdoors but also by visiting the library realize that we put learning in high esteem. It would be a feather in our cap, that may be just the ticket to become a perfect place to move to, and invest in.

Delores de la Torre

Marine Avenue

Not a garbage dump

Why would anybody want to turn our beautiful community into a garbage-burning mecca [“Global companies eye mill site for waste-to-energy facility,” February 22]? Why turn our beautiful community with its pristine surroundings into a dumping ground? Are we the Pearl on the Sunshine Coast or the Garbage Capital of the Sunshine Coast?

A waste-to-energy facility is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that threatens Powell River and surrounding area: a 500,000-ton-per-year garbage incinerator that promises jobs, prosperity, taxes and, oh yes, hazardous waste. But they don’t tell you about the hazards, do they? They do not tell you about the toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative poisons that will absorbed through the skin of the children attending Henderson Elementary School or Brooks Secondary School, as well as the residents of Wildwood, Tla’Amin (Sliammon) First Nation, Cranberry or Westview. They won’t tell you that after the burn they still have to get rid of tons of the now-hazardous fly ash. I wonder where they are planning to dispose of this highly concentrated hazardous fly ash? I put my money on Wildwood.

Incinerating garbage takes nonhazardous material (garbage) and transforms it into hazardous waste such as furans, dioxins and water-soluble mercury, to mention a few; and despite the so called state-of-the-art pollution controls they brag about, these contaminants always get into the environment. Why? Because these facilities never work as perfectly as they tell us they do.

This North American multinational is sniffing around for an economically challenged and desperate community willing to sacrifice the health of its residents by accepting one of its hazardous waste facilities. No one has the right to sacrifice our health for the sake of money. I believe that “the love of money is the root of all evil” and that this evil will have serious and long-term consequences for health of Powell River if we allow this incinerator to come here.

I urge you to speak to and pray for our City of Powell River council that councillors understand that the future for Powell River is bright and exciting as long we protect it. Yes we have a future and it is healthy and bright as long as it is not burning garbage.

Mark Biagi

Warner Street

Another use for old arena site

There have been a number of valid reasons presented as to why the old arena site (OAS) should not be used for a library [“Opponents protest library site,” February 22]. There is one reason which I believe has not been mentioned, is important and should be considered.

Although Willingdon Beach park is a very fine facility and is well used by locals and visitors alike, its unimposing entrance leaves much to be desired, being right on the main thoroughfare and with very limited parking. There is considerable potential for traffic accidents there in the summer months.

Having the OAS gives us the opportunity to develop a new and attractive main entrance, with adequate and safe parking facilities. This would be a big improvement for the park and could be done at relatively low cost. I believe the park deserves it.

Charlie Morrison

Hazelton Street