I take the optimistic point of view… what we have now in front of us are huge opportunities!

Today’s AV Times newspaper lays out those opportunities perfectly.  From affordable, waterfront living, to our living and working forests, to our own local energy production and deep sea port.  Our Valley has all of the assets to grow and prosper in the new economy like no other.

Take the great piece about the Working Waterfront.

Winters and four staffers bring in the logs from waterfront booms out of Sarita, and from the nearby dryland log sort, then haul them off to mills.

“We’re probably moving 50,000 cubic metres of wood a year,” he said.

That would translate to over 1.3 million cubic feet of wood in a year. “That’s a lot of wood,” he said.

The work done by Winters Holdings at the waterfront translates to 182 direct jobs in the forest and at mills, he said. While some of those jobs are at mills over the Hump, at places like Errington, Cedar and Riverside, some of the workers in those places live in the Alberni Valley too, he said.

There is no doubt about it.  Managed properly, the forests of Vancouver Island are the “greenest” opportunity for steady and sustainable industrial employment we have.  This will always be a big part of life in the Alberni Valley and Vancouver Island.

Now consider this also in today’s paper:

“Affordable Port Alberni”

after 21 years in the real estate business, Koszegi has seen improvements in Port Alberni as a living destination.

“From when I was a kid, it was a lot more polluted,” he said, noting the benefits of the recently opened Canal Beach and the upcoming Alberni Canal Downwind Challenge on June 14. “The beach initiative that we have and the paddleboard competition, it’s all stuff that attracts people.”

Realtor Lance Engstrom, who has lived in the Valley for 50 years, believes that improvements are needed in promoting the Valley’s high quality of living at a comparatively affordable price.

“A lot of people can’t get past the idea of industry (lumber mills and paper mill) in the heart of town occupying ‘essentially’ all of the waterfront,” he wrote in an email to the Times. “We need to be open and welcoming to development, especially along the waterfront, if we hope to attract [and] impact positive growth.”

Are these two articles at odds?  Certainly not!  Yes we have the issue of the beach but take a step back and look at our incredible Harbour.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 8.49.22 AMWhy are we only using half of it?

Think of the potential for job creation if we doubled the amount of usable land?

We need to grab our opportunities to use all of our assets rather than fight over the limited space we have.

And consider then what happens when you

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 8.47.47 AMwiden the view out.   There is an entire Inlet out there.  It’s ours and no one can take it away.  It provides incredible recreational, environmental, and economic potential for the City, the Region, First Nations, and all.

The Port Authority’s Transhipment Hub will be down there, Coulson’s mill is just around Polly’s Point, the Catalyst and APD mills aren’t going anywhere in the City but Harbour Quay and Victoria Quay are thriving and Canal Beach could too if it was redeveloped with a full service beach park and residential area that was respectful of the concerns of Industrial users.

We have incredible opportunity in the Valley to go far above and beyond what we already have.  The waterfronts of cities all over the Island and the world are being turned into places to live and play, not just work and we have one of the best around to do all three.  We just need to grasp the opportunities (including at Canal Beach) to make it happen and to realize we’re not limited to only what is in front of us.   There is so much more.  If we all work together we truly can have our cake and eat it too.

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