Artist Jesse Toso carved the salmon sculpture that graces the lawn in front of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Centre. The Ultimate Fishing Town gang wants to commission him to create a 20-foot carving Centennial Pier.

Ultimate Fishing Town spawns record carving proposal

The Ultimate Fishing Town committee now wants Port Alberni to have the ultimate salmon carving.

The Ultimate Fishing Town committee now wants Port Alberni to have the ultimate salmon carving.

Committee representative Bob Cole appeared before city council on Tuesday asking for support to erect a 20-foot salmon carving on or near Centennial Pier. The wood sculpture would be similar to a 13-foot model that was recently carved and erected in front of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Centre.

“Western Forest Products may have a log for us within the next week or two,” Cole said, adding that the city also currently has “a window of opportunity with the carver, [Vancouver-based Jesse Toso,] who is willing to contribute a substantial amount of his time to come back to this community.”

The proposed carving could potentially be a record-setter. According to Cole,  they “haven’t found anything that’s a 20-foot-tall fish so we think we may have the world’s tallest salmon.”

(Salmon, maybe; but Kenora, Ont. boasts of Huskie the Muskie, an iconic 40-foot-tall sculpture of a muskellunge that was built in 1967 along the Trans-Canada Highway.)

While Western Forest Products is donating the log, Ultimate Fishing Town is looking for city assistance in constructing a base for the statue. City council passed a motion directing Parks, Recreation and Heritage and the Engineering department to assist Ultimate Fishing Town with finalizing the details.

City manager Ken Watson said placement of the sculpture on Centennial Pier could only happen with the approval of the Port Alberni Port Authority.

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