Victoria Quay offers a short walking path along Port Alberni’s waterfront. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni unlocking a ‘Quay to Quay’ connection

Port Alberni council has proposed connecting city’s Victoria Quay to Harbour Quay

Port Alberni city council is moving forward on a pathway between Victoria Quay and Harbour Quay.

In their 2019-2023 strategic plan, Port Alberni city council proposed connecting the Quays with a multi-use path between the Kitsuksis Dyke and Harbour Quay.

City staff have been working on a conceptual design, identifying land use and ownership, environmental impacts, engineering options, funding opportunities and budget. Staff have now identified two grant funding opportunities, with October deadlines.

Economic development manager Pat Deakin explained during a council meeting on Monday, Aug. 10 that the federal and provincial governments will be offering funding for the Community, Culture and Recreation program and the Rural and Northern Communities Program.

The first grant program could provide up to $2.5 million towards the project, with the city having to provide a minimum of 26.67 percent of the cost. The second program could provide up to $2 million towards the project, with the city having to provide a minimum of 10 percent towards the cost. Deakin proposed submitting the same project to both streams.

“We currently do not have a cost on the project,” Deakin added.

On Monday, council expressed support for the Connect the Quays project.

“This is one of the most exciting projects that comes out of our strategic plan,” said Councillor Helen Poon. “I’m really excited about the possibility of uniting our communities with this connection.”

“It’s going to hugely help our tourism attraction,” added Councillor Debbie Haggard.

Councillor Ron Corbeil proposed talking with Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations about the possibility of expanding the pathway all the way to Paper Mill Dam.

Council directed staff on Monday to prepare an application for the purpose of developing a multi-modal pathway between Victoria Quay and Harbour Quay. The deadlines for the grant programs are Oct. 1 and Oct. 22 respectively. Before submitting grant applications, the city plans to engage with local First Nations, landowners and stakeholders in the conceptual design.

Councillor Ron Paulson pointed out that if the city doesn’t apply for the grant funding, it risks leaving money on the table.

“I think we should move forward and see if we can get some of this government funding,” he said.

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