Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb.21,2011 guest editorial on Tsunami Siren

To Council and Mayor of Tofino:
I would like to address council about the location of the Chesterman Beach area Tsunami siren. I have attached a few pictures and would request a response and reason from every council member and mayor on this location.
When I first saw the stake notice for the location of the siren at North Chesterman I was very upset. I immediately wrote to Aaron Rodgers who referred me to Braden Smith and his reply was that quote "he did not like it either, but it is what was inherited by the previous administration". That being said, when something is not right and has not been completed yet, is it not the time to correct it; or do we have to wait until it is built and then re do it?
My issues with this location seem obvious, but maybe they are not. I will list them for you:
1. The land in question is composed of logs, sand and beach grass. It is likely very unstable ground, and would be considered the natural buffer protecting the trees from marine weather and erosion. I thought we were educating ourselves on this issue. I know I recently attended an open house on buffer areas and coastal erosion solutions at the field station and so did some councillors and administration.
2. The unsightly tower, with a base that will be built at the entrance to the beach, is in the high tide surge line. I know I do not look forward to a concrete base and 40’ siren as the first thing I see when going to the beach ( I do not have the plans for the siren, but I am guessing it has to be mounted in something). This in the direct view of nature; at this rate, we might as well add a cell phone tower with it. People think rock walls are bad, well they have not seen anything yet.
3. Has a feasibility study been conducted to ensure this siren will effectively service the whole area? It seems difficult to imagine that it will be heard through the tree stand at the far north corner all the way to South Chesterman, Jensen's Bay and beyond. Off the top of my head, I can think of 2 better locations with unobstructed sound lines to the beach: at the 30km sign on the road by the new generator (the house there has no trees on the lot and would provide a excellent area to broadcast the siren)(1253 Lynn Road area), or at middle chesterman parking lot . I would think a pole on the road would be heard as well or if not better in that location than the proposed one. A pole can be built tall enough to broadcast north, south and east. I go back to the feasibility study. I have never heard sound tests done in the area; if tests have been conducted, where is the report published? This is a taxpayer funded project, as a taxpayer, I would like to see the report outlining the best location to serve the community.(Federal funds are tax dollars)

The Lenard Islands fog horn could be heard everywhere when it operated and as this is a federal project maybe the siren should be erected there, I understand the need for such a device, but for the amount of time it will be in use could we not put a little more effort into the location and make it not an eyesore. The old war sirens seemed to work at their locations?
4. Power to the location for the siren will have to be dug in on the path disturbing vegetation that does not need to be disturbed, when power exists at the road, for a much cleaner and less expensive build. (for something that will only run in an emergency)
5. Although Chesterman Beach provides a large percentage of the residential tax base in the community, it seems the concerns of the residents in this area are largely ignored. Decisions are continually being made that directly impact the direct enjoyment of our neighborhood, yet the council or administration continually fail to inform or discuss any of these issues with the residents before the projects are approved. How is anyone supposed to trust the administration and council when decisions seem to change daily and with no input from the community until its a done deal. I can use the parking lot as an example ( no need to explain).
I could continue on, but I think the pictures say it all. I look forward to your reply's.
I find it interesting that we have bylaws that prevent signage on the beach to protect the natural feel, yet this structure is considered.

Thank you, Tammy Shymko

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