Alberni mill looks for grant money to fund repairs

A $25,000 from the city would help shore up McLean Mill, extend the life of buildings and upgrade the electrical needs in the machine shop.

Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society’s Hugh Grist made the pitch for the funds to city council at their Monday meeting.

The money will be underwritten from the city’s 2011 contingency fund.

An additional $3,000 is being advanced to the society to address a pigeon infestation at the railway station. The society will pay for Gyprock and insulation after the work is done.

The funds would be put towards repairing the mill’s walkways, repairing its foundation, wood conveyor repair, boom shack preservation and machine shop electrical upgrade.

The total cost of the work is $111,000, and the tab would be covered in three ways.

The society is eligible to apply for a $55,000 Parks Canada grant, which would be paid out subject to a matching city funds and a successful site audit upon completion of the work.

The city’s $25,000 would be combined with in-kind and material contributions from the IHS to fund the project’s remaining cost.

Maintenance, support and longevity are concerns, Coun. Jack McLeman said.

When the mill was first built there were no wood preservatives and posts embedded in the ground are now brittle without cement bracing them.

“I won’t support it if it’s just going to go to something else that is going to rot.”

Some wood preservative and cement work is already being utilized, but the mill will work closely with the Alberni Valley Museum and Parks Canada to ensure conservations standards are adhered to.

McLeman asked further if the fix was long term.

The society expects to get 10 years out the work, Grist replied.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com