A couple of weeks ago a newcomer to Prince Rupert penned a less than flattering look at the town and the way the place works. It caused quite a sensation at the time, as many got their backs up at the prospect of an out of towner, coming into town to lay down the law so to speak. It appeared in the Northern View and immediately became the talk of the town.
While a few of his points hit some valid points of concern locally, just as many others apparently hit some raw nerves. Sending more than a few off to the word processor to put together a counterpoint to Mr. Lao's observations.
This week, the Northern View published one such rebuttal, the case for the defence we guess.
Rupert starting to turn the corner
The Northern View
Dec 27 2006
Editor’s note: The following letter was received regards to Mr. Lao’s letter two weeks ago.
To Mr. Pedrico Lao:
Are you serious? This is the message that you bring to us from “your” reality, “your” outside world (I’m quite sure many, many more average outsiders do not share your simplistic views) that we are living in dilapidated housing with unlicensed broken down cars, with water filled mildew colored boats and dog feces in our yards. That we are a gullible and naïve people. Is this how you want to introduced yourself to this town Mr. Lao? I am so sorry that we have not met your approval.
I will not dispute your ramblings on property values (I don’t profess to be an expert in the real estate market). We do have a lot of World War two houses, and quite frankly some outside people would say that it adds to Rupert’s character. Cruise ship passenger have stated they like Prince Rupert because it’s real, it’s clean, it’s small town Canada. It’s not a tourist trap. What you see is what you get, Mr. Lao, real hard working people, people trying to do their best through this dark period of Rupert’s history, I agree that we are an overly optimistic people. Unfortunately for you Mr. Lao, you have not been through what this town has been through in recent years. You really can’t and never will comprehend the hardships and the struggles that many Rupertites have had to endure. And yet, we are still here. This shows you a lot about our character and resiliency.
You state that you have doubts about “Our New World Port” and it’s realization. Maybe you should drive to the terminal and you will notice all these machines and men moving around. This is called a construction site:) I’m not sure where you’re getting your info from, but there will be many good paying jobs with our “New World Port” and locals citizens will benefit from it.
Where you heard that it will create work and wealth for everyone is mystifying. I am sure everyone would love to work at the container port. The sad reality of the situation is that everyone cannot and will not get good paying jobs as a result of the Port. There will also be many lower paying jobs caused directly and indirectly by the results of the higher paying jobs being created by the Container Port. This also happens in Richmond.
You’re coming here at a time when our fortunes have finally turned. You have missed all the hardships, the agonies and the unforgettable sorrows that have befallen this town. There were a lot of good paying jobs that were lost from our resource based economy. So unfortunately for you, you are not seeing us at our best. But we have endured the dark times and the proverbial light is within reach. You haven’t been here to feel the heartbeat of our beloved city grow fainter and fainter. It’s beating a lot louder these days. In fact it’s beating so loud it can be heard across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, and you know what, they have heard of us and they haven’t stepped within city limits either. Your absurd statement that most average outsiders do not know where Prince Rupert is, at the least, ludicrous. Here’s a case in point, my job as a Forestry Engineer has taken me extensively throughout B.C. and all the people I have met, they know where Prince Rupert is. We have tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world that come through our Cruise ship dock and they know about Prince Rupert. I am very positive that our city counsel, Mayor Pond and the CEO of Prince Rupert Port Authority Don Krusel are trying to promote Prince Rupert and its opportunities, albeit not to the average person as you state in your letter.
Besides Fairview and a Casino we do have other projects on the go, British Columbia’s first wind farm is being built here on Mount Hays. There is construction happening on Ridley Island for the export of pellets. One only has to look around to see the signs of the impending economic revitalization. Who are we Mr. Lao, we are 5000 years rich in First Nations history, we are an area of abundant recreational opportunities, we are a future Asian Pacific gateway to North America. The question remains Mr. Lao, who are you!
Unlike you, I don’t have a ludicrous statement such as “Prince Rupert holds a special place in my heart”, but rather, “I have the blood of a hundred generations flowing through mine”. So if I sound a little miffed I am, if I sound sore I am, you should have realized your defamation of our city, my birthplace, my home, would have quite honestly, garner some sort of retaliation.
Yes we live one of the rainiest places in Canada,” Hello!” we live in a Temperate Rain Forest, the same one you live in Richmond by the way.
Yes we live on an isolated Island, but thank goodness there are many modes of transportation back to Richmond, you take your pick, I’ll pay. Godspeed Mr. Lao