City of Port Alberni asks for non-farm use for McLean Mill

Application supported by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board

A non-farm use application for McLean Mill National Historic site has been forwarded to the province’s Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

On Wednesday, June 24, an application from the City of Port Alberni came before the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) board. The city is applying for a non-farm use for McLean Mill, which is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

The city was served a non-compliance notice from the ALC back in March after a public complaint pointed out that the property is being used for commercial ventures outside of the scope of a National Historic Site. This includes food and gift services, campgrounds and public events.

READ MORE: Agricultural Land Commission letter could halt operations at McLean Mill

If approved, the application would allow for the continuation of non-farm uses at the site, as long as programs are permitted under the regulations of the ACRD.

Beaufort resident John Adams sent a letter to the ACRD on Wednesday, requesting that the board defer making a decision in order to give the public opportunity for input.

However, planning manager Mike Irg pointed out that the application does not require a public input process, as the ACRD board is forwarding the application to the ALC, and not making any decisions itself.

Beaver Creek director John McNabb added that the McLean Mill discussion has been taking places for months, so the public has had ample time to provide comment.

“Delaying it so [Adams] can make some kind of presentation to the board is just delaying it,” said McNabb.

City director Sharie Minions said that Adams has brought a number of his concerns to the city already.

“We have investigated every single concern,” said Minions. “We’ve spent excessive amounts of time making sure that the concerns he’s brought forward have been dealt with fairly.”

READ MORE: No ‘imminent’ health risks at McLean Mill, says medical health officer

However, Sproat Lake director Penny Cote wanted to provide an opportunity for public input. She pointed out that when the application came before the ACRD’s Agricultural Advisory Committee on Tuesday, June 23, the vote to support the application was not unanimous.

“Some members [of the Agricultural Advisory Committee] believe that this property should be taken out of the ALR,” she said. “I would like to see this delayed myself and hear more from the community.”

The board voted on Wednesday to support the city’s application and forward it to the ALC for a final decision.

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