Dear Editor: After reading the article which appeared in The Western Star, March 24, headlined “MP asks port to host meeting on administration, future,” I felt a need to write.
I support MP Gerry Byrne’s call for a public meeting to discuss the recent and possibly final death knell for Corner Brook’s waterfront shipping and receiving operations.
Long recognized as the western region’s main hub for freight handling activity, it historically played a major role in the area’s development and sustainability as a land and sea terminal.
Bluntly put, I think its involvement with Oceanex has proven to be to its detriment, considering the latest withdrawal.
The business decision that will make St. John’s Oceanex’s only port of call in this province makes it necessary to use more costly overland travel in order to pick up and deliver goods to customers in our region.
This method of delivery, I believe, will leave Corner Brook and area facing a complete phase out.
The matter, as I see it, needs to be discussed in an open forum with as many of the key players as possible involved who are interested in Corner Brook’s survival as the strategic port of call.
In the meantime, I think the current situation could have been avoided if the regional authority had shown any foresight.
Any attempt to justify or explain away the situation by words, not actions, is akin to shutting the barn door after the horse is out.
Meaningful action is possible but the will must be there to make it happen and the meeting Gerry Byrne proposes can get things moving in a positive direction.
I believe the present state of affairs is fixable, but those with the most to gain by having terminal facilities operating at full capacity must make positive impact.
It’s another part of the economic assets of the western region — like the cement plant, gypsum board plant, local bottling of Coca-Cola, the government abattoir and so-on — which were allowed to leave or close because of a lack of effort, from where I sit, to retain them.
I’m looking at this from a regional point of view.
Melvyn (Lou) Smith, Christopher’s Cove, Summerside, Bay of Islands