Dear City (ACRD): Public Transit brings independance, choice and stronger communities

This letter was sent to the ACRD Board on May 15.
This is an update, of sorts, to this post about the potential service.

Dear ACRD Board,

I write this as a daily commuter and general user of public transit for most of the past 20 years in Qualicum, Parksville, Nanaimo, and Victoria. There are a lot of preconceived notions about buses that people have when a route is considered especially in a place that has never seen bus service. I hope this letter can help.

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To the Editor: Credit where credit is due

Praise should come at least as quickly as concern.

With news this week that San Group has bought another mill in the Valley, it is becoming clear they are here to stay and in a way we have not seen other companies do for a long time.

A few years ago when I heard of the possibility that San Group was going to buy the Coulson mill, and then build on Stamp, I was skeptical and apprehensive. The community had spent a lot of time, effort and $75,000 in 2013/2014 planning on the redevelopment of the “Waterfront North” area including the formerly unoccupied Catalyst land. There was a lot at stake.

Continue reading “To the Editor: Credit where credit is due”

To The Editor: The Travesty at Stamp and Roger

Have you ever noticed the rail embedded in the ground near the Barclay? The remnants of a former crossing to the mill property which looks much different today. This photo is from around 2011
The area on April 18, 2020

Update:

A few days later, the letter below has not been published in the paper yet (this one was though: “Sometimes prudent to cut down trees“) but I did send mine directly to San Group. Now there is renewed activity along the property line. We’ll see what comes of it.

Also, I’d like to add the bit of common sense advice about care of trees below… for when the remaining trees start dying due to the dirt being piled around them and people point and say “They were rotten all along“. No, they were not ‘rotten’ or in poor shape beforehand. They were, in fact, thriving and beautiful.

“Soil added around a tree reduces the amount of oxygen available to the roots and slows the rate of gas exchange in and around the roots. There may be less moisture and nutrients available to the roots or too much moisture may remain around the tree’s roots. Inadequate oxygen reaching the roots or microorganisms in the soil around the roots can lead to an accumulation of chemicals that can injure tree roots. The tree’s bark may decay where soil is newly in contact with it. Damage or injury to the tree because of the added soil may not become apparent for several months or years and generally appears as a slow decline followed by death.”
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/piling-dirt-around-tree-kill-it-82318.html

Dear Editor, (Not Yet Published)

Even in these strange and unprecedented times, things in the world march on and need scrutiny. And so it is that every time I find myself driving down Stamp or Roger on my weekly resupply runs, I wonder. Has this pandemic actually transported me back to 1918? Because the giant hill with the ripped apart trees looks less like landscaping and more like preparation for a million man charge for God and Country up and over the banks. I wonder how room rates in the Barclay will fare once things reopen with expansive views of no man’s land beyond?

To be a shining light in a community, a corporate citizen has to be more than simply a source of employment or hockey game giveaways. It has to be a point of pride. I know many former M&B, Weyerhauser, Catalyst and other company employees who weren’t just proud of where they worked because they worked there, but because of what their company left behind in this community for all to enjoy.

I worried a year ago that the removal of the community banners from the corner of Stamp and Roger was a small sign of things to come. If the ongoing travesty of piled dirt and ripped up trees is the San Group’s idea of making its mark in the community, they shouldn’t expect the community to stay all quiet about it for long.

Chris Alemany
(This letter was sent on April 16, 2020)

P.S. A commenter elsewhere mentioned the history of the property which spurred me to try to find a pictures of Stamp Avenue which is interesting in and of itself. First here’s the only picture I could find that really shows the alders along Stamp Avenue. It’s from 1989. The trees are noticeably smaller indicating they were likely planted in the early to mid-1980s.

The mill expansion in 1989. You can see both the alders along Stamp Avenue and the trees on the Northeast corner of the property up to the intersection of Roger and Stamp in front of the Barclay Hotel. More details at the Alberni Valley Museum

Did you know that Stamp Avenue used to run *between* the parking lot and electrical substation for the Alberni Pulp and Paper Mill and the mill itself and then along the water to Victoria Quay? Below is a picture from 1969 that shows the intersection of Redford and 3rd and Stamp.

The big white building is the *first* Barclay Hotel that used to be at the bottom of Redford before it was lost in a fire. More details at the Alberni Valley Museum.

Below is a picture courtesy of Google Earth from 2001. It unfortunately does not include the northeast part of the property but you can see the difference in the alignment of the road as the mill expanded. Notice also the lines of rail cars both near the middle of the picture and in the railyard on the top left.