Furney’s remarks ‘interesting’

Steve Carlisle reacts to comments made to the Gazette last week on the Hornsby.

Dear editor,

It is interesting to note that James Furney of the North Island Heritage Society is quick to publically support his community of Port McNeill in a possible bid to host the Hornsby Steam Crawler. In my opinion he and the NIHS did little towards the recovery efforts in the 7 years it sat in storage with George Hoffman in Surrey, B.C. Efforts by the group from Coal Harbour, which began in Oct. 2011, on social media relating to steam equipment on the internet, to put pressure on the person withholding the Mammoth from its return home.

It seems now James Furney refers to a “movement” from Port McNeill that has interest in hosting the Hornsby Mammoth. Well it seems they chose a good time to jump on the bandwagon, after the Coal Harbour group worked hard to help in its return home, and researched the machine’s history, contacted and chatted with interested people from all over the British Commonwealth, and set up a website; www.hornsbysteamcrawler.com.

After the crawler’s return in Aug. 2012 James Furney said that a meeting would be called in Oct. 2012 to have the NIHS decide which community would be the best host for the crawler, and to make that recomendation to the RDMW. That has not yet happened!

In early 2012, the NIHS also sent out requests for “Proposal to Host the Hornsby” to the communities in the RDMW. Coal Harbour just happened to be left out of that mailing. Requests have been made for that letter to Coal Harbour but, as of yet, Coal Harbour has not recieved one.

I can see now that these two circumstances have possibly given the new “movement” time to start thinking about hosting the Mammoth in Port McNeill, even though no person from Port McNeill that has any Hornsby interest has ever contacted the group in Coal Harbour, or even became involved in the “SmokStak” group on the Internet.

Mr James Furney refers to this website as a “obscure group” but in reality it is the place to be, as far as steam-related vintage machines is concerned. If readers are interested in the conversations during the recovery efforts by the Coal Harbour group, they can read most of the postings here;

www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=97266&page=3.

Remember that the Hornsby Steam Chain Tractor was brought to Apple Bay in the late 1920’s to haul pulp wood for the Port Alice pulp mill. The machine was located down the Holberg Inlet, minutes by boat from Coal Harbour. It is part of Quatsino Sound heritage, and has nothing to do with Port McNeill, which is on the other side of Vancouver Island from Coal Harbour.

It is very important to communities that have ties to their industrial heritage equipment, to be able to conserve, protect, and use them to educate the public, in a public Heritage Hall or museum that also supports tourism in that community.

Steve Carlisle

Coal Harbour