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   Author  Topic: Rumours & Speculation & Rants  (Read 21247 times)
George_Harris
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #920 on: Mar 7th, 2013, 1:27am »
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on Mar 6th, 2013, 10:03pm, Garrett_Owner wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 I just reread what I wrote and I guess it could be construed as an attack; but in reality I was just posing conversation. The one thing that everyone tends to skim over or overlook is that if the mine started shipping tomorrow the existing highway is there to be used, the rail is from various information sources, at the least, two years from being useable into Port Alberni.

The track could be brought up to condition to handle heavy axe load trains in a matter of weeks, at most.  Given the speed at which failed bridges have been replaced, less than a year should be sufficient to turn the railroad into one capable of handling coal trains.  Admittedly, much easier terrain, but look at how long it took KCS to put a piece of out of service ex-SP track in Texas back into service with all new track and replacement of most of the bridges.


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chrisale
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #921 on: Mar 7th, 2013, 10:07am »
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on Mar 6th, 2013, 9:53pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
When it comes to whether the coal will move by road or rail, the coal companies will sit down and do the math if they are any sort of rational business.  
 
Upgrading the railroad track and even improvements to it otherwise would be analyzed in detail.  Who will pay these costs will also be a consideration, but let's leave that one for now.  
 
On the road side there is the much lower capital cost due to no need to build the rail facilities.  However, the operating costs will be much higher.  More manpower.  Significantly higher fuel consumption, Higher vehicle maintenance.  Greater liability.  What the relative cost of buying sufficient trucks to haul the coal versus the cost of buying cars and locomotives for equivalent capacity, I don't know.  Longevity of the rail side assets is probably much greater than that of the road side assets, but the significance would depend upon the analysis period and interest rate used in the present worth analysis.  Likewise, the interest rate selected in a present worth analysis could be very significant in the outcome of a road versus rail study.  
 
What should also be done on the government's side would be to analyze the cost of the needed road improvements and higher maintenance costs when considering whether or how much to put into upgrading the rail so that the coal could move that way.  
 
It is possible to make the decision on the basis of hard economics without all the posturing and arm waving going on.  If there is concern about environmental issues and road safety issues, there are ways to assign dollar values to these things.  How do you think decisions are made as to which road project to go forward with, all political pressures being more or less equal between projects?  Dollar values are assigned to each factor needing consideration.  You can argue all you like about what these should be, but you have to have some form of measuring system.  

 
I have been looking for that 'measuring system' for 2 years now!  I wish there was somewhere I could go for that kind of info.
 
With all of the studies done on the highway system, alternatives to it, and the work done evaluating the E&N... there surely is enough information out there for a competent consulting firm to gather all those facts together, do the evaluation of the Alberni sub that has not been done yet, and come up with the factual, measured, comparable report showing the best option forward.
 
Maybe it's time to ask that of our local government, or better yet, of Raven Coal before they advance the EA process any further forward.
 
Quote:

The track could be brought up to condition to handle heavy axe load trains in a matter of weeks, at most.  Given the speed at which failed bridges have been replaced, less than a year should be sufficient to turn the railroad into one capable of handling coal trains.  Admittedly, much easier terrain, but look at how long it took KCS to put a piece of out of service ex-SP track in Texas back into service with all new track and replacement of most of the bridges.

 
Thank you so much for this.  The "it isn't ready/can't be ready" line is such a frustrating red herring on this issue.  


« Last Edit: Mar 7th, 2013, 10:08am by chrisale » Logged

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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #922 on: Mar 7th, 2013, 12:55pm »
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OF course putting aside all the reports already developed and presented on this issue isn't another "Red Herring?" You dismiss offhand any report or idea that disagrees with your opinion so why do we need another report.  
 
We've had something like seven reports already that claim the E & N is not suitable for commuter but you claim we need more reports.  
 
The ICF's own study is now moot, because you don't agree with it?  
 
They posted something about really expensive repairs being needed before the line can reopen. Well tell you what Chris, those costs are going to be a lot higher now because there is extensive repair work not now being added to the rebuild costs that the ICF doesn't even know about.  
 
IMHO the ICF probably don't care about  because it will not do the VIA push any good.


« Last Edit: Mar 7th, 2013, 12:57pm by Dennis Dalla-Vicenza » Logged

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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #923 on: Mar 7th, 2013, 1:02pm »
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on Mar 7th, 2013, 1:27am, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)

The track could be brought up to condition to handle heavy axe load trains in a matter of weeks, at most.  Given the speed at which failed bridges have been replaced, less than a year should be sufficient to turn the railroad into one capable of handling coal trains.  Admittedly, much easier terrain, but look at how long it took KCS to put a piece of out of service ex-SP track in Texas back into service with all new track and replacement of most of the bridges.

I have no idea of who you are (rail expert or armchair quarter back like the rest of us) but would like to know if you have ever traveled the E & N Port Sub? The line in most places is in fair shape because of upgrade work done 15 or so years ago. There are sections of wooden trestles that have to be removed and replaced and some of the concrete work on some smaller steel bridges need major repair. Is this in your estimate of time line work?  
 
I have never seen the track you mention but is it through rolling prairie or clinging to the side of a mountain?


« Last Edit: Mar 7th, 2013, 1:03pm by Dennis Dalla-Vicenza » Logged

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chrisale
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #924 on: Mar 7th, 2013, 3:02pm »
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on Mar 7th, 2013, 12:55pm, Garrett_Owner wrote:       (Click here for original message)
OF course putting aside all the reports already developed and presented on this issue isn't another "Red Herring?" You dismiss offhand any report or idea that disagrees with your opinion so why do we need another report.  
 
We've had something like seven reports already that claim the E & N is not suitable for commuter but you claim we need more reports.  
 
The ICF's own study is now moot, because you don't agree with it?  
 
They posted something about really expensive repairs being needed before the line can reopen. Well tell you what Chris, those costs are going to be a lot higher now because there is extensive repair work not now being added to the rebuild costs that the ICF doesn't even know about.  
 
IMHO the ICF probably don't care about  because it will not do the VIA push any good.

 
You're not even responding to anything I've said.
 
We're talking about what needs to be done to get the coal on the railway.  I'm saying there have now been enough studies done of all modes of transport that if it was combined with a new one that addressed the Alberni line as well then we should be able to come up with a numbers-based measureable comparison of the options so that it is a straightforward and objective pick for what mode of transport is best for the coalmine, the community, and future prospects.


« Last Edit: Mar 7th, 2013, 3:07pm by chrisale » Logged

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Gyralite
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #925 on: Mar 7th, 2013, 10:49pm »
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We already have a consulting firm doing consulting on the railway-the one Graham Bruce works for.

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George_Harris
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #926 on: Mar 8th, 2013, 1:16am »
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The coal company will do their own studies regardless of what else is done by who else.

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wiggle_wagon

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #927 on: Mar 9th, 2013, 11:34pm »
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on Mar 7th, 2013, 10:49pm, Gyralite wrote:       (Click here for original message)
We already have a consulting firm doing consulting on the railway-the one Graham Bruce works for.

 
Granneke Management and Consulting Services. (Graham & Anneke Bruce, this is their business, not someone they work for.)
Link (http://www.islandrail.ca/about-the-icf/financial-reporting/) shows Mr. Bruce's association with the ICF.


« Last Edit: Mar 9th, 2013, 11:38pm by wiggle_wagon » Logged

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #928 on: Mar 10th, 2013, 12:47am »
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Ahhh-is it LEGAL for a consultant to also be the president of a company?
 
How can you be a consultant when you have no experience in the field you are consulting in?


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chrisale
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #929 on: Mar 10th, 2013, 1:29am »
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on Mar 10th, 2013, 12:47am, Gyralite wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Ahhh-is it LEGAL for a consultant to also be the president of a company?
 
How can you be a consultant when you have no experience in the field you are consulting in?

 
He's the CEO and he is acting as such.
 
"The Board has contracted with Granneke Management and Consulting Services to provide the Chief Executive Officer services and the daily management functions."


« Last Edit: Mar 10th, 2013, 1:30am by chrisale » Logged

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chrisale
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #930 on: Mar 10th, 2013, 1:31am »
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on Mar 8th, 2013, 1:16am, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
The coal company will do their own studies regardless of what else is done by who else.  

 
That is true George, however, they are not required to release any such study.
 
In the context of the ENvironmental Assessment and the impacts of the coal mine on surrounding communities I think it behooves said communities to get their own comparative studies done so that they can push the Ministry of Environment and Transport to do what is in the best interest of the Community.


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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #931 on: Mar 10th, 2013, 11:31am »
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Of course people like Snyder will be all over this an want to hire "expertise" that only agrees with the coal watch stance and will be preordained to come out against the coal mine proposition.  
 
Some of the experts that have been dragged in by coal watch are at best 'jokes!'


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railpuck
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #932 on: Mar 10th, 2013, 11:34pm »
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on Mar 9th, 2013, 11:34pm, wiggle_wagon wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
Granneke Management and Consulting Services. (Graham & Anneke Bruce, this is their business, not someone they work for.)
Link (http://www.islandrail.ca/about-the-icf/financial-reporting/) shows Mr. Bruce's association with the ICF.

This would seem to be a Conflict of Interest.


« Last Edit: Mar 10th, 2013, 11:40pm by railpuck » Logged
railpuck
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #933 on: Mar 10th, 2013, 11:43pm »
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Some ICF directors like Graham Hill Mayor of View Royal, could be in a Conflict of Interest sitting on the ICF board as a director, read story below.
 
http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-elected-officials-have-one-master-1.54937


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George_Harris
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #934 on: Mar 11th, 2013, 6:26pm »
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Quote:
The coal company will do their own studies regardless of what else is done by who else.
 
 
on Mar 10th, 2013, 1:31am, chrisale wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
That is true George, however, they are not required to release any such study.
 
In the context of the ENvironmental Assessment and the impacts of the coal mine on surrounding communities I think it behooves said communities to get their own comparative studies done so that they can push the Ministry of Environment and Transport to do what is in the best interest of the Community.

The coal company's study would be for a completely different purpose than any public study, anyway.  The coal company study would be purely on the basis of their internal economics.  The "outside" issues such as environmental issues, traffic congestion, and such would only be considered as they affected their cost or their ability to go forward with the project.  And, as said, it would be an internal document.  Given the operating cost of the grade on the line to the port, they ought to do at least a very preliminary analysis of a tunnel through the mountain at lake level, also.


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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #935 on: Mar 11th, 2013, 7:53pm »
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A tunnel   Do you want Raven or ICF should look into this cost? The grade is only a problem to the railroad as they will carry the freight if it develops into that being a viable route. The line isn't open so the rail option really isn't an option.  


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Polar
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #936 on: Mar 11th, 2013, 9:06pm »
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on Mar 11th, 2013, 7:53pm, Garrett_Owner wrote:       (Click here for original message)
A tunnel   Do you want Raven or ICF should look into this cost? The grade is only a problem to the railroad as they will carry the freight if it develops into that being a viable route. The line isn't open so the rail option really isn't an option.  

 
Do you really think the railway is not an option?  
Does beating a dead horse come to my mind when answering this statement?
 
The railway is an option.  Again it will take far longer to get the mine going and Port Alberni ready to ship the coal then it would be to get the railway up to standards.  Raven Coal knows this as well as everyone else except for some.  
 
It comes to cost for Raven coal.  Will shipping by train be cheaper then shipping by truck.  
 
That decision hinges on SVI (A Washington Marine group company)  seeing a profit if they upgraded the line them self's.  This will effect the cost of shipping by rail to Raven coal because SVI will want to recoup the cost from what it charges Raven Coal.
 
Before you ask, these studies will not be made public because they are both private companies.  All we can do is sit and wait.


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George_Harris
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #937 on: Mar 11th, 2013, 9:55pm »
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on Mar 11th, 2013, 7:53pm, Garrett_Owner wrote:       (Click here for original message)
A tunnel   Do you want Raven or ICF should look into this cost? The grade is only a problem to the railroad as they will carry the freight if it develops into that being a viable route. The line isn't open so the rail option really isn't an option.

I feel like it is explaining the obvious, but here it is:
 
To say that the grade is only  problem to the railroad is being very simplistic.  
 
The railroad nor likely anybody else is going to get out there and spend what it takes to get the line to the port up to the condition that it can handle trains of fully loaded coal hoppers without some sort of long term contractual relation with the mine.  The charge to move the coal will have a relationship to the cost of moving it, in other words the cost of operating the railroad.  Therefire, the mine definitely has an interest in what it takes to get the railroad in necessary condition and to operate it.  There will probaby be several scenarios analyzed.  Among them:
 
1.  Minimal investment in fixed facilities (track upgrades, bridge strengthening and replacements) operating light axle load engines and cars.  This will be the lowest investment cost but highest operating cost.  It may not be lowest by much as it will require purchase of more engines and more cars.  
 
2.  Sufficient upgrading to handle full axle load equipment, but to the minimum extent required.  This method gives some reduction in operating cost and some reduction in equipment costs by spending more on the fixed facilities.  However, if done minimally there will be reliability issues and fixed facility maintenance will be high.  This alternative only makes sense if initial capital is tight and it is antiicpated that the "just barely" condition of the track and bridges will be corrected later as funds become available.
 
3.  Do a thorough rebuild of the track and correct all deficiencies in structures.  If capital is available this method is normally the preferred as it will result in the least achievable operating cost on the current alignment.  
 
4.  At the least, there should be a brief look at the cost of line relocation to reduce the grade and eliminate as much of the climb as practical.  There should be significant operational cost savings.  It should not take much to figure out whether the answer is a. forget about it.  b. let's do it, c. more study required.  If the conclusion is "c" then we would be seeing geological studies and all the other necessary parts that go into tunneling decisions.


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chrisale
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
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« Reply #938 on: Mar 12th, 2013, 12:41am »
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One last wack at the horse... by Garret's logic, since the railway 'isn't an option' because it's not up and running, neither is the Horne Lake Connector or the Ring Road.  But we all know his feelings on the former.
 
Polar and George.  Well said.   I agree on all points including the fact that both the coal company and rail company will have done their own work and we'll likely never know how extensive, or not, that was or is.  I know for a fact and have documentation from SVI that they provided to Raven on their plans for a rail spur to the mine.  And they have told me they've made proposals and detailed the costs to Compliance Energy Corp (CEC, the mine proponent).  So we know they've talked.
 
The only angle I have and we all can attack this at is in the public and municipal level.
 
I just came back from Port Alberni City Council actually and made a statement to them that they should do a comparative analysis of the the road and rail transportation mechanisms for the coal through the City using all of the available reports and to augment them as needed.
 
I asked them if I could propose a motion to that effect and they told me to come back with it in writing.  So I will do that on the 25th.
 
So thank you George for putting that bug in my ear.  
 
 
______
 
On the issue of the rail line proper, George I think your options run it down very succinctly.  (and fair warning, I may again use your ideas in from of Council... if they can dream big with highways, well then, so can I! )
 
I would have never been so bold to consider a tunnel at lake level... do you think that is even a realistic (ie. affordable) option for a mine that would only be in operation for 16 years if approved (see related at bottom)?  
 
I'm looking at the grade of the Alberni sub on Google Earth.
 
I'm seeing two options for a tunnel... I've included an image below, it includes a rough elevation profile (based on Google Earth altimetry, which isn't perfect but close enough)
 
Option 1:  One starting at the west end of Cameron Lake would be the most beneficial in terms of eliminating grade.  Starting at 270m (Summit is 400m) and ending at 250m.  But it would be very long/expensive.  At least 8km (5.5miles).
 

Large Version
http://www.vifreightbyrail.ca/tunnelsproposalbig.png
 
Option 2:  Starts after Cathedral Grove at 320m and would have very minor grade to 340m through the mountain for 2.4KM (1.5miles).
 
Related:  The Mayor indicated tonight that he was at a meeting in Parksville where Premier Clark was also in attendance and he and she mutually reiterated their support for expansion of the Port Alberni Port as a part of the Asia Pacific Gateway, so there are other significant goods that could be moved on that rail line both east and west if their dreams come true (and emphasis on dream right now)



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« Last Edit: Mar 12th, 2013, 12:46am by chrisale » Logged

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George_Harris
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #939 on: Mar 12th, 2013, 9:23pm »
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on Mar 12th, 2013, 12:41am, chrisale wrote:       (Click here for original message)
On the issue of the rail line proper, George I think your options run it down very succinctly.  (and fair warning, I may again use your ideas in from of Council... if they can dream big with highways, well then, so can I! )
 
I would have never been so bold to consider a tunnel at lake level... do you think that is even a realistic (ie. affordable) option for a mine that would only be in operation for 16 years if approved (see related at bottom)?  
 
I'm looking at the grade of the Alberni sub on Google Earth.
 
I'm seeing two options for a tunnel... I've included an image below, it includes a rough elevation profile (based on Google Earth altimetry, which isn't perfect but close enough)
 
Option 1:  One starting at the west end of Cameron Lake would be the most beneficial in terms of eliminating grade.  Starting at 270m (Summit is 400m) and ending at 250m.  But it would be very long/expensive.  At least 8km (5.5miles).
 
Option 2:  Starts after Cathedral Grove at 320m and would have very minor grade to 340m through the mountain for 2.4KM (1.5miles).
 
Related:  The Mayor indicated tonight that he was at a meeting in Parksville where Premier Clark was also in attendance and he and she mutually reiterated their support for expansion of the Port Alberni Port as a part of the Asia Pacific Gateway, so there are other significant goods that could be moved on that rail line both east and west if their dreams come true (and emphasis on dream right now)

 
Looking at a contour map, the lake level tunnel length can be down in the four mile to slightly over range.  The real benefit of the lake level tunnel comes if you can rebuild the east approch to get the grade down.  
 
I would appreciate remaining invisible when you raise this issue in a public meeting.  
 
When I looked at a map of this whole picture my real surprise was to see how far Port Alberni is from the ocean.  the inlet looks to be about 40 miles long.  I would think that would be a major negative to it becoming a much of a port.  Maybe there should be a look whether there are other lilkely port sites.  It would not be unknown for an industry like the mine to play two or more potential sites for a facility, be it a port, a factory, or whatever, against each other in order to get the best deal they can out of it.  
 


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