The City of Port Alberni is preparing for the final stage of its “Connect the Quays” project, connecting Harbour Quay to Victoria Quay.
City council recommended giving funding approval to complete the whole project during a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Jan. 15. The first two phases of the project—one near the train station on Harbour Road and one at Roger Creek Park—are currently under construction and are expected to be completed by June of this year.
The city received $2.5 million in grant funding back in 2022 to take on this project, but they still have to provide the final $1,253,411 to finish the final phase, which will connect Tyee Landing to Roger Creek Park, then to Victoria Quay.
Jim MacDonald, the city’s director of infrastructure, told council on Jan. 15 that the city will have to wait before designing the final segment of the path along the waterfront, as demolition of the Somass Lands is still ongoing. Planning for the Somass Lands property will be a multi-year project with its own public engagement process. He explained that the pathway will be prioritized in that process, alongside waterfront access and public green space.
City CAO Mike Fox says the city hopes to have a “rough trail” along the waterfront in the meantime that will connect to the Rogers Creek path.
“We do want to open the waterfront as soon as possible,” he said.
Mayor Sharie Minions explained that the city heard overwhelming support from the community for a path along the waterfront.
“The whole intent of this project was primarily to be waterfront wherever possible, but also to have multiple routes and paths,” she said, so walkers can pick and choose their own route.
The city does not know where the $1,253,411 in funding will come from, or whether it will affect taxation, as budget discussions for this year have not started yet. But Minions pointed out that the city still has money left in its Growing Communities Fund, which was provided by the provincial government last year to be used for infrastructure projects.