My good friends who live on a boat in the Port McNeill harbour got an early Christmas present from the town: an eviction notice.
It’s because their chosen lifestyle, making a boat their home, has recently been threatened in many communities, including Port McNeill (a Port city!?). Prior to this new rule, they lived at the PM Harbour for nearly three years, and contributed greatly to the community; they both lived and worked in town, spent money in our stores, made good friends, kept watch over other boats and contributed to the diversity of the community.
A blanket rule to disallow liveaboards based on a few bad experiences points to poor management and lack of vision. Effective managers turn challenges into opportunities. How can we welcome liveabords into our communities? How can we use liveaboards to diversify the community and strengthen the economy? Can we become a model for other port cities considering the same ban? These questions probably haven’t been asked as it seems like the Harbour Management is plagued by the same old school mentality as I’ve witnessed in the town of Port McNeill for the last 10 years I’ve lived here. It parallels the RDMW’s recent attempt to clarify bylaws to blatantly disallow additional short term and long term rental accommodation on properties in the district. Are we really looking for ways to make it harder for people to come to the North Island to live, work and vacation?
“Who needs diversity, we are loggers!; Why tourism, we have industry!” Well, what happens when industry turns its back on the community? (and that’s not a rhetorical question given the recent events in Woss). We need diversity in our communities; diversity in its residents, their lifestyles, and their jobs. It makes the community more sustainable and a more enjoyable place to live. But it doesn’t seem like the town of Port McNeill has grasped that concept. So my friends were evicted, two days after Christmas, to sail to a new town that hopefully welcomes their lifestyle and many contributions to the community. It will be Port McNeill’s loss.
Ben McGibbon, Hyde Creek
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