EDITORIAL: A pit run re-run

Story resurfaces about the construction of a berm in Parksville Bay and a protest

Newspapers would not be much fun without guys like Bernie Smith.

The prolific Parksville-based letter writer doesn’t just fill our e-mail inbox — the venerable Toronto Star hears from Bernie often and also publishes his letters.

In recent days, Smith has been waging a different kind of e-mail war by regurgitating an old issue — the berm in Parksville Bay that was constructed to fight erosion.

Now, this is a serious issue that continues to percolate today. We ask for your forgiveness for the lightness and lack of depth we are affording it in this space.

It was May of 2008 and some high-profile protesters set up in Community Park, trying to stop the trucks bringing pit-run to the beach for the construction of a berm. These weren’t your every-day protestors. People like Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Burden and 2005 citizen of the year Bill McKinney were on hand, Kumbaya.

They were (and are) busy guys with jobs and reportedly kept checking their watches because they were doing this on their lunch breaks, but they were there standing there, blocking trucks, and received some media attention for their efforts.

They believe the berm was a bad idea, for a number of reasons. In fact, some of their predictions have come true, like the littering of the once all-sand beach with rocks and pebbles because the berm was built out of pit run that was comprised of rocks entirely too small for the job. They figured Mother Nature would take care of the berm with her King Tide-big storm combos, and that seems to be true. And that’s why the story Smith has revisited is relevant today. Mayor Marc Lefebvre, a city councillor in 2008, jumped into the e-mail fray Bernie created last week, saying the berm idea was endorsed by environmental groups, engineering firms and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He explained something had to be done in 2008 because “in a very short time the erosion would impact the roadway.”

Forget medical marijuana production facilities. Nevermind downtown revitalization. Parksville’s beach is one of the finest on the continent and the number one reason people visit here and feed the tourism industry that’s so important to all families in this region.

Perhaps it’s time for Bill, Bernie and Burden to stage another protest. We’d really like to take that photo.

— Editorial by John Harding

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