Letters

Historic mill past its prime

To the Editor,

After 15 years of operation and the wasteful spending of more than $8 million of our city tax dollars, it’s time to admit that the McLean Mill National Historic Site is a failure.

Its remote location alone guarantees that it will fail. It’s simply not a major tourist attraction.

The steam train does boost attendance somewhat, but not to anywhere near the 25,000 visitors annually probably needed to break even.

The recent ideas of Kevin Wright and Patrick Deakin may boost attendance a bit, but not nearly enough. Neither, to my knowledge, has any museum experience.

My idea for a train stop at Johnston Road just above the railway tracks was repeatedly rejected by the Industrial Heritage Society. There is room for a right-hand turn at Leslie Avenue and also room for several parking spots just east of the tracks. A siding would have to be put in for locomotive turnaround.

In my opinion, the McLean Mill National Historic Site should become a static display except for the steam donkey and spar tree demonstrations. The steam train itself should run from Johnston Road to Harbour Quay during the summer months.

Hopefully this entire matter will become an election issue.

Richard Berg,

Port Alberni

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