Letters to the Editor: Fording Mine Road, Political Will, NDP Routley and Wapiti

Letters from readers from the Sept. 10, 2015 edition of The Free Press.

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Letter to the Editor re: Fording Mine Road

An article in the August 27th, 2015, The Free Press caught my attention. “Resurfacing Fording Mine Road”. I was surprised that the Ministry of Transportation had allocated funding to a mine service road. Teck is fully capable of ensuring their employees safety and make it a priority. I was particularly alarmed when the article stated that this project was essential for workers to ensure they come home safe to their families every day. My following comments are directed to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), Ministry of Land, Forest and Natural Resources (MLFNR), as well as elected officials in our region.

Just wondering where the sub-standard, not really public,  use at your risk, roads like Hartley Creek Road, fit into the 10 year plan to improve BC’s transportation network. Hartley Creek Road is a locally promoted access route to various wilderness and recreation destinations, as well as a short cut to access Sulfur Creek and Bull River. The volume of public traffic increases annually. Summer, as well as a popular staging area for snowmobilers in the winter. There are 10 or more families that use Hartley Creek Road as their primary access. Any concerns for our safety?

If Hartley does not meet the standards and minimal conditions for public access routes in the provincial bylaws, designed largely  to protect the public, then the surface should be designated as such, or gated. MOTI does not include Hartley Creek Road in their public road inventory. If there is a conflict between ministries(MOTI and MLFNR) about the roads status, public or private, even though there is no foreseeable logging in the Hartley Creek drainage area, requires resolution. Hartley Creek Roads failure to meet public standards has a greater than ten year history. Dealing with the issues at the ministry level serves the people, which is a good idea. Ignoring and prolonging the issues puts everyone that travels on Hartley Creek Road at risk.

I sincerely hope that Hartley Creek Road is a high priority target in the overall plan, B.C. on the Move. Please allocate a portion of the $800 million over the next three years to rehabilitate projects in the Elk valley and specifically the Fernie area where tourism is growing.

For your information, my understanding is that we have had another summer of intense use of Hartley Creek Road, fortunately without incident, although I haven’t seen any maintenance of the surface since spring. My conclusion is that if the surface is performing and satisfying the public’s need for access, and MOTI finds it too expensive to fix, then drop the technicalities and recognize the surface for what it is. A public road!!! If you can’t get over it, then fix it.

Brian Larsen,Fernie, BC

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Letter to the Editor re: Political Will

Political Will Essential to Canadian Green Energy Economy

The transition to a low carbon future drives questions about the Canadian economy. Can a green national energy industry keep pace with our present resource-dependent system? Increasingly, the answer from the marketplace is a qualified, “yes, if the political will is there.”

In December 2014, The Globe and Mail reported that the green energy sector in Canada was employing more people than the oil sands. Innovative Canadian companies like Morgan Solar, Hydrostor, and Woodland Biofuels are poised to provide scalable technologies. What’s needed is a strategic and sustained commitment from government.

A price on carbon is the critical first-step. A fee and dividend system that applies an incremental cost on carbon while returning proceeds to Canadian families unleashes the creative power of the market. Moving government subsidies towards renewables provides investors the confidence to make major capital commitments. The pieces to the puzzle are there, we only need the will to make it happen.

Paul Campbell,Kaslo, BC

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Letter to the Editor re: NDP Routley

NDP MLA Doug Routley has a double set of standards. He is presently the NDP MLA for the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding.

This affects him in that he does not practice what he preaches. In the legislature he preaches that log exports to Japan should be banned and that these logs should  be cut into lumber right here in B.C. sawmills, like Nanaimo, where he lives with his neighbours and constituents keeping B.C. taxpayers employed, yet on the other hand he  buys and drives a Japanese import vehicle, supporting the Japanese auto industry.

If he practiced what he preaches, he would then be driving a Canadian made Ford, GM, or Chrysler product, supporting the Canadian auto industry.

He says he lives in Nanaimo, but does not.  He lives in Duncan in the Cowichan Valley riding. I find his double set of standards annoying and insulting in view of the fact that he receives a taxpayer funded MLA salary of $102,878 per year plus benefits.

Can he at least speak the truth. Unbelievable and Mickey Mouse on his part.

Joe Sawchuk, Duncan, BC

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Letter to the Editor re: Wapiti

The Wapiti Music Festival is one of the best events to occur in Fernie in my recent memory. It is well-organized ,has great musical acts,amazing venues,free for seniors and so much fun.

I have attended every year and am so thankful for the many dedicated volunteers, especially Kevin McIssac who make it happen!

So I was disappointed to see a recent poll in the Free Press that seemed to indicate otherwise.  Having lived in this town for many years, I so appreciate the effort put into hosting an event like this and didn’t see the need to publish a poll that didn’t indicate that.

Kathleen Stead,Fernie, BC