Letters to the Editor

Fixing the weather to bring more people to Prince Rupert

Editor:

I very much enjoy reading Bruce Wishart’s column on the tourism industry.

I think we are lucky to have the likes of him and Shaun Stevenson to attract tourism from far away as Europe and Asia. However, I feel that we are neglecting a market a little closer to home.

Having spent a majority of my years on the West Coast of Vancouver Island I quite frequently visit my home town (Tofino) to see family and friends. Whether it is Tofino, Nanaimo or Vancouver, people have a very common dismal impression of Prince Rupert. “How can you live there”? “It always rains”!

The truth of the matter is that Prince Rupert receives just over 90” annual precipitation, while Tofino – Ucleulet area receives close to 120” per annum. As Goe Gardiner stated several years ago in his Daily News column on this very topic “you haven’t seen it rain until you have visited Tofino”. In all fairness however these downpours occur mainly between November and March. It is drier and a bit warmer through the summer months than here. The storm track is also frequently pushed north in the summer months, which gives Prince Rupert a constant cloud cover for sometimes weeks at a time.

Prince Rupert is a very difficult area to predict even a short-term forecast mainly due to a large body of cold water, mountains and a major warm current just off Haida Gwaii.

So what is the solution, change the weather? Maybe! Sadly enough BCTV is all we have to give a detailed account of what “they perceive” to be happening weather wise on the North Coast. On this beautiful day BCTV says we will have a few showers, which I am sure will not happen. The problem is inaccurate forecasts occur on a regular basis throughout the year.

I miss the big sign that blew off the top of the Highliner displaying the time and current temperature. On one occasion several years ago I watched the noon news, and then headed into town, the temperature from the airport was 16oC on two consecutive days while the Highliner sign read 24oC and the next day 25oC.

With all due respect to the people who reside in Dodge and Kipson Cove, Prince Rupert is not on Digby Island and should not receive their weather reports. Several years ago Victoria moved its weather station from Esquimalt to a more representable location for this very reason.

A 12-14 degree temperature report in mid-summer is common due to a fog shrouded airport when the rest of the province may be breaking temperature records. This can be a huge determining factor to a group planning a getaway to the North Coast.

We must move the reporting station to a location in town, possibly the Coast Guard at Seal Cove.

As we know the current fee structure of BC Ferries deters many from traveling the Northern Ferry routes, which is detrimental to the economy of Prince Rupert. We can boast having the only ship in the fleet where you have to pay $30.00 to look out the forward windows!

This fleet was built as a marine highway, which was to be part of our Provincial Highway infrastructure. Is there a fee to travel the new Sea to Sky Highway? In one perspective, we are paying for that! We are living in an interesting time however. Just waiting for the next “Money Grab” price hike from BC Ferries. We just may see an uprising in Haida Gwaii that will make Tripoli look like a retirement destination.

My apologies, but I hope you find some merit in what started as a brief script and ended as a Gahdafi monologue. And remember when the sun is shining in Prince Rupert it is a beautiful setting.

Sincerely

Phillip Craig.

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