(This letter was sent to the Alberni Valley News on Friday May 7, 2021 in response to ‘‘New’ Dry Creek path falls into disrepair in Port Alberni‘)
Letter published May 26, 2021
Change often comes in fits and starts, other times, it appears all at once. It’s getting to the end that matters. Just last month we tried to walk beside Dry Creek on 3rd and were surprised to see its state.
Dry Creek could be a mini-version of the Dyke: Paved and smooth, nicely tended, with people going to and fro. It’s not there yet, and has now fallen back a bit, but it still could be.
Land ownership is always challenging. It’s odd WFP and IT/Mosaic did not grant the City an easement to release Dry Creek and the east bank. There is no corporate value in the creek, but significant communal value. Perhaps the City could purchase the Mosaic property beside Smitty’s and create a nice rest area alongside the creek like it did with the new Millstone Park at Victoria Quay?
In time, I hope the City and ACRD will also finally call up the Island Railway folks and start working on a trail beside the tracks to Beaver Creek, McLean Mill, the Log Train Trail, even Sproat Lake, but it makes sense that a new community pool is a more immediate priority. It’s had more than its fair share of stalled progress.
All these projects, whether they happen in small steps or giant leaps, help build and improve our City and make it more desirable for all. We just have to keep that end goal in sight and keep going.
I’ve been looking through my email and other City related archives and have not been able to find mention of the lease agreements with IT and WFP going back to 2014. Both in-camera, which obviously I can’t share, as well as regular and others. I don’t even have any notes on it, which I have going back forever.
I don’t remember having any kind of substantial discussion about the leases in 2015. The big issue was the purchase of the Jade Restaurant. There was some talk about whether the trail should be on the east or west side or both and that WFP’s preference was for it to be on the east side for security of their drying sheds but that’s all I can remember or find mention of.
Here is a liveblog I posted of the May 26, 2014 council (2010-2014 council term) where there was discussion to fund the Dry Creek project. It could be that the lease agreements were signed in 2014 and never came to the 2014-18 council which had its first substantial meeting in December 2014, especially since the project went to tender before April 2015. But again I may be wrong, I simply don’t have or remember any information one way or the other. Here’s a story about the Jade Restaurant that had to be demolished in order to accommodate the new stream.
For interest, the following links have pictures of the construction of the project from July, August, and September 2015 showing construction of the stream including this one at the westernmost end (behind the Liquor Store). Whatever happens to the trail, the work itself remains very important for managing flooding in the 3rd ave area. It seems to have been successful in that respect and it’s important that that success is not put in jeopardy by lack of management of the stream or land.