Letters to the Editor

Time to stand up for Prince Rupert's waterfront

Editor:

Regarding: Closure of central waterfront area to the public

It would be wrong for residents of Prince Rupert to remain silent with the recent admission by Pinnacle Renewable Resources that they "will scrap plans for a waterfront promenade it proposed as part of the Westview Terminal project".

Pinnacle's plans for this promenade — complete with a concrete sidewalk, paved roadway, flowers and trees — was a part of the joint presentation made by Pinnacle and the Prince Rupert Port Authority during the environmental review process for this project. Time and again now we are seeing commitments made during the environmental review process being thrown out the window by proponents as soon as projects are approved, with no accountability. This is unacceptable.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) cannot escape their responsibilities in this matter. As the lead agency for the environmental review process, they now have the responsibility to enforce the commitments made during the review process. The conflict of interest of the PRPA in these matters is appalling: On one hand they are the lead agency in the environmental review process and on the other they are a proponent of these port related developments.

CN Rail must also accept their responsibilities in this matter as they had the responsibility to advise the public of their intentions to blockade the area to the public once this project was approved. Transparency is one of the fundamental requirements in the review process.

There is, however, a much larger issue to be addressed and that is the disgraceful situation our central waterfront has been allowed to remain in for the past 41 years, ever since the 1972 fire destroyed most of the wharf facilities in this area. Today, the beach area remains largely fenced off. To access this beach, one must walk over broken pieces of concrete with reinforcing steel protruding dangerously into the air. The large rip-rap rocks are further obstacles that must be negotiated. The beach itself is riddled with creosote pilings which have been cut off a few inches above the gravel surface and there are still jagged pieces of steel protruding from the gravel. The area is also stated to be "contaminated".

To make matters even worse, CN's gravel roadway has for years spread dust onto any one frequenting this area. Those using the area include those participating in our community waterfront activities such as SeaFest and the annual Sailpast, those using the Rotary Park, the city's rail museum, the lightering facility or those walking or jogging in the area.

Our entire central waterfront area should never have been allowed to remain in this situation for this many decades. Now, Pinnacle is retracting the commitment they made to finally make some much needed improvements and CN have further chosen to blockade the area entirely.

It is time residents of this community said no to this nonsense. Those industries choosing to operate in our city need to become functioning members and to contribute to our quality of life not destroy it.

Brian Denton

Prince Rupert

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