When reading about Richardson International's plan to expand the grain handling terminal on the North Vancouver waterfront (Residents Upset at Terminal Plans, Oct. 21, North Shore News), I was reminded of the closed grain elevator ghosts that dominate the Thunder Bay, Ont. waterfront.
On a recent visit there, I heard that much of Western Canada's wheat exports used to pass through Thunder Bay onto Great Lakes freighters to markets in Soviet nations. With changes in world production and demand, more Canadian grain is now exported to Pacific Rim nations. The same market forces that are driving expansion of grain handling facilities here are causing decay in Thunder Bay. In 1983, three times more grain flowed through that community than did in 2010.
While we grapple with how to make Richardson International's expansion work, Thunder Bay grapples with how to restore and beautify its waterfront. What happens to our waterfront when world markets shift again and the industry finds new ways to get grain to new markets? It's inevitable that the wall of concrete elevators 54 metres high and 172 metres long (two soccer fields) will decay. We need to review Richardson International's decommissioning plans alongside its expansion plans.
Will Schuurman North Vancouver