Trespassers put Alert Bay airstrip at risk

ALERT BAY-Mayor warns council Medivac flights, other services could be lost if airstrip not secured

ALERT BAY—Ongoing trespassing at Alert bay’s air strip during could cause the Village to lose a valued service if the activity is not curbed.

During its regular council meeting Feb. 14, Mayor Michael Berry told council, “we would be delisted,” and “Medivac would not come here.” Berry was trying to stress the importance of keeping people from engaging in their walks, bicycle rides, and other recreational pursuits on the landing strip. Councillor Lisanne Granger pointed out that Cormorant Island has an aging population and (Medivac) is going to be a needed service.

This discussion is part of a long-standing struggle to keep residents from trespassing, and the issue has taken a higher priority following a recent incident involving children playing on the strip. A local pilot had to abort a landing when he encountered a cyclist on the strip. For many years seeing people walking their dogs or just power walking has been a common sight there.

Ideas for deterring this included additional fencing and increasing police efforts to fine people who do trespass. Council is asking police to hand out $115 tickets to anyone caught trespassing.

Current efforts have included signage, ribbon barriers and a camera. Letters have been sent to identified trespassers, but many can not be identified due to observational direction or the wearing of hoodies. Village CAO Heather Nelson-Smith pointed out the large amount of time it takes to review the video which takes away from working on productive Village business. Public Works foreman Pete Nelson stated, “people just pull the ribbon down,” and on one occasion the the camera was turned off to avoid detection.

 

Traffic disruption

The upcoming demolition of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School is expected to cause some road closures in Alert Bay this March. As a part of this process, many tons of brick will be taken off the island by a barge expected to be located on Fir St. near the old hospital site. The removal is expected to close the road for 17 days.

Concern about damage to the roads by the heavy equipment was raised by council members. In addition to protective measures taken by the as-yet-unnamed contractor, the Village is expecting $20,000 in compensation since some damage is inevitable.

The entire tear down is expected to be completed by March 31. The initial phase of the tear down will involve the removal of the building’s asbestos.

St. Michael’s was built in 1929 and, until its closure in 1975, housed thousands of children causing inestimable harm to many generations of first nations people. Although there were arguments in favour of keeping the building standing, many found its ongoing presence a too-bitter reminder of an ugly chapter in Canadian history.

Just Posted

Port Hardy Rotary Club donates $8,077 to the Gazette Christmas Hamper Fund

The hamper fund raises food and donations for many communities in the North Island.

Oscar Hickes: The longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island has been cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Port McNeill council wants to see a plan on how to protect and invest tax dollars

“if we can make $40,000 or $50,000 in interest, why not, as it could reduce taxes”

Claire Trevena’s MLA Report for the North Island

“As we head towards Christmas, I, like everyone, hope for a resolution to the strike”

Port McNeill’s annual Christmas Craft Fair

With upwards of 600 people attending this one-day sale, business was brisk.

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

Most Read