The walls came crashing down around Clutesi Haven Marina on Tuesday as the marina building was finally demolished. The building has been empty for a few weeks following asbestos testing.
The activity drew a few onlookers, and Port Alberni Port Authority CEO Brad Madelung visited the site to watch the process.
Some of the materials from the demolished building will be recycled, wharfinger Mike Carter Jr. said. “The contractor is doing his best to sort and separate everything he can.”
Clean wood was earmarked for hog fuel. Scrap metal, pipes and wiring will go to the metal recycler in town. Whatever concrete cinder blocks that could be preserved were destined for one of the concrete businesses in town, although Carter said he wasn’t sure which one.
He expected the rest of the material would go to the landfill.
Asbestos testing was completed two weeks ago and any contaminated material safely removed. Carter said the demolition did not affect the marine environment, although traffic on the water and on the roads above the parking lot were disrupted while equipment dismantled the building. Power was cut to the harbour office and the fuel pumps, but was back on by the end of the day, he said.
Carter didn’t know how much the demolition cost, but the Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) was picking up the tab. The City of Port Alberni owns the land at the marina and leases it to the port authority, which in turn runs the marina.
There will still be portable shops and portable washrooms at the site, and the food vendor (VI Fries) will stay on the site, Carter said.
In 1912 a saltery operated on the same land, in the Somass River estuary. Clutesi Haven Marina was built in the early 1970s.
In 1973 the harbour commission (now the port authority) held a naming contest for the new marina. Theresa Kingston won the $50 prize for her suggestion, “Clutesi’s Haven”.
(Kingston is now the city’s manager of human resources and community development.)
The building was named for George Clutesi, a Tseshaht First Nation artist, actor and writer who was known in Canada as an expert on Native Canadian culture and its preservation. Clutesi died in February 1988.
City planner Scott Smith said there are no immediate plans to replace the marina building. The land is included in the Waterfront North Redevelopment Study, being carried out in a four-way partnership between the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations, the port authority and the city.