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Coal mines not the way to attract tourists

January 17, 2013 · 5:47 PM
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Dear editor,

Two articles in your Jan. 9 edition struck my attention.

The first was your excellent editorial The Air We Breathe discussing the VIHA air quality advisory for our valley, triggered by fine particulates in the air. Your article referring to the Comox Valley notes:  “A huge upside is that a lack of industry means our water and air are spared the pollution endured by people in other communities.”

The second was the article Tax Assistance for Business? Mayor Jangula described his “huge concern” about how downtown small businesses are suffering, in part, because of huge box stores.

These two realities face a common danger – coal mines and the development of an industrial zone down the middle of the Comox Valley.

Does anyone really believe that we can maintain the quality of the air we breathe with the proposed the Raven Coal Mine in Fanny Bay, the open pit Bear Mine close to Cumberland, and the huge coal trucks roaring up and down the valley day and night 24/7, every day of the year?

This will be a real problem especially for children, elders and others with respiratory problems.

Unlike the box stores, small downtown businesses are highly dependent on tourists.

We, the taxpayers of the Comox Valley, have encouraged tourists with a $22-million renovation of our airport and a new $4-million tourist centre. Courtenay has passed a room tax to promote tourism.

Will the development of coal mines encourage or dissuade tourists? I think the answer is obvious.

In the past year my wife and I have been invited to enjoy timeshares with family and friends in Maui, Hawaii and Sedona, Ariz. What would happen to their tourist trade if these communities suddenly announced that they were supporting the development of coal mines?

One of the reasons tourists come here is precisely because we do not have heavy industry like coal mines that people contend with in other communities. Our home really is an outstanding example of Super Natural British Columbia.

When I go to the airport and start through security I often notice a sign with a number of objects and the words, “Some things are not meant to travel.”

I think of the proposed coal mines. They are the wrong things in the wrong place.

In terms of the air that we breathe and the tourist industry that so many of our local businesses depend upon and we taxpayers support — it is all a matter of common sense.

Mike Bell,

Comox Valley

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