Letter: The Gabriola Radio Tower
We want to express our support for the Gabriola Radio Society and the proposed tower for the following reasons:
First, the tower and radio station will provide an essential service in the event of any emergency that might cut off or diminish communications between Gabriola and Vancouver Island. We are, of course, referring to power cut-offs and ferry cut-offs. These emergencies could be caused by disasters such as earthquake or forest fire. It is true that the current emergency plan involves the use of ham radio operators, but that only involves ham-to-ham operators; there is no other way to directly contact islanders than through independent generator powered transmitters and battery powered receivers.
In a widespread emergency we cannot rely on local directions from Nanaimo or Parksville radio stations. They would be busy providing information to the mid-Island population of over 100,000 people and unlikely able to provide direction to 4,000 Gabriolans. That is something only a Gabriola station can do.
Consider, for example, the confusion and panic resulting from earthquake or forest fire. Without direction from a local radio station, people would be flooding North and South roads going in both directions while nearby evacuation points are ignored.
Second, please consider the cultural and educational value of our own radio station. Not only would it provide an outlet for our talented musicians, writers and playwrights, it would also provide valuable outlets for our elementary and secondary school students as writers, commentators, reporters and studio technicians. Also, it would provide opportunities for seniors to share their wisdom and memories.
Some of the people expressing opposition to the tower and station are speculating on tax increases, leasing of tower space and having to share the advertising dollar.
They are throwing out red herrings to kill a very worthwhile project. If we do not want to pay the construction and operating costs from our taxes, we only need to tell our regional director. If advertisers do not see value in radio ads, they need not buy them.
If Gabriola Radio Society fails in its objective to provide a local station, the owner of the tower site may still be open to leasing it to another tenant who may or may not have our interests in mind.
~ Neil Aitken & Ruth Loomis