A new gazebo that has been erected at Victoria Quay is the culmination of a joint project between The Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith and the City of Port Alberni.
The project began in 2003 when the Rotary Club helped pay for the viewing deck to be built at Victoria Quay.
When city parks operations supervisor Rob Gaudreault approached the club three years ago to ask if they would replace the plaque on the viewing deck, the conversation turned to whether Rotary might help pay to put a roof over the deck.
“We thought this was like a continuation of the project,” said Larry McGifford, past-president of Arrowsmith Rotary.
Arrowsmith Rotary donated $15,000 toward the gazebo project. They asked that the gazebo look like it belonged in the area, which is frequented by tourists and residents alike. McGifford said the project could be considered as building community capacity, which is why it fit in well with Rotary’s values.
“Our club felt it was a good project,” McGifford added.
The gazebo was designed to give people shelter from rain and sun while continuing to enjoy the Quay, McGifford said.
The project was delayed due to the timing of other projects the parks, recreation and heritage committee had on the go, parks supervisor Rob Gaudreault said. “It was supposed to be done last year.”
Adelhardt Construction was awarded the contract to build the gazebo and replace the decking. The deadline to complete the project was extended again due to COVID-19 and a resulting backup for product needed, Gaudreault said.
The gazebo was built in phases so it was usable by the public. The area was cordoned off whenever crews were working on the next phase. The decking was replaced and reshaped to fit the covered portion of the gazebo; the deck was finished around the Victoria Day weekend, and now the area is always busy.
“For watching bears and wildlife on the water, it’s going to be awesome,” he added.
Eventually, the city will install solar panels to provide lighting at the Quay. The other decking will also undergo regular maintenance.
Solar panels and LED lighting will also be installed at Millstone Park once the city is ready to put up a sign, Gaudreault said. His department continues to work on their park maintenance schedule, and they will also be installing a small family park in the second phase of Uplands.
Although Rotary clubs haven’t been meeting due to COVID-19 measures, the Arrowsmith club has still been working on a few things, McGifford said. Fundraising is one of those.
“Our world has just changed,” he said, and non-profit groups—Rotary included—will have to look at different ways of raising funds going forward. Arrowsmith Rotary was forced to cancel its popular Hops Fest this year, and they will also be looking at the annual wine festival that happens in fall.
Rotary has been assisting Soap for Hope out of Victoria ever since a representative gave a presentation more than a year ago to local clubs.
McGifford was in Victoria last week helping at the warehouse and picking up a carload of hygiene products to distribute to various organizations in the Alberni Valley.
The Alberni Valley COVID-19 Response Team has distributed hygiene items from Soap for Hope in the past few weeks.