This carved sign was located outside of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre until 2011. (JERRY FEVENS PHOTOGRAPHY)

City of Port Alberni looks to restore historic sign

Carved cedar sign has been stored at the city’s Public Works Yard since 2015

The City of Port Alberni wants to see an historical landmark return.

A carved cedar sign, 25 feet wide by 11 feet high, has been stored in the city’s Public Works Yard for the past few years. The sign dates back to the 1980s, when the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce moved into their new offices on the Alberni Highway.

A fundraising campaign was organized by the chamber at the time, and hundreds of people donated funds to what would become the “Focal Point Sign.” Local artist Kim Schroeder designed the sign, which encompasses the history and activities of the Alberni Valley, while Elmar Schultes was hired to carve it. When the sign was erected, a bronze plaque, emblazoned with the names of all contributors, was mounted on the face of the sign’s concrete footing.

However, when the Chamber of Commerce built a new visitor’s centre on the highway in 2011, the sign was taken down and put into storage. It was stored over the years at the Port Alberni Port Authority and Western Forest Products, until the chamber donated it to the City of Port Alberni in 2015 and it was moved to the Public Works Yard for repairs.

In the last few years, city council has discussed putting the sign up at Millstone Park on Victoria Quay, but this comes with a steep price tag to construct a foundation for it to sit on.

READ MORE: Valley’s Mill Stone Park set to open

The topic of the focal point sign came up again at a meeting of council on Monday, April 27.

“I remember when Kim Schroeder designed this sign, and I would like to see it go back up,” said Councillor Cindy Solda. “A lot of the public would like to see it go back up.”

Mayor Sharie Minions agreed.

“It’s never really to me been a [welcome] sign,” she said. “It doesn’t really welcome you to Port Alberni. But it is a beautiful piece of art that we should be very proud of. I would love to see it reinstalled in our community in some way.”

The city will be seeking input from the public about potential locations to reinstate the sign. Some potential locations include Millstone Park, McLean Mill, city hall, Canal Waterfront Park, the Rollin Arts Centre and the Chamber of Commerce.

“[The sign] was lost in just a drive-by where it was located previously,” suggested Coun. Ron Paulson. “It needs to be located where people can actually get out of their vehicles and enjoy the artwork.”

There is still a price tag. The sign can either be attached to an existing concrete structure (at a cost of $10,000), or the city could construct a new foundation (at a cost of $40,000). Although the sign has been refurbished by public works staff, it will also need a fresh coat of finish prior to installation (approximately $2,000).

“This is probably a sign that needs to be refinished every second year,” said Paulson.

Also on Monday, council requested some cost estimates and design concepts for a new welcome sign. A report of the findings will be brought to a later meeting of council.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Port Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


The carved focal point sign has been in storage for almost a decade. (PHOTO COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

A LOOK BACK: Port Alberni’s fireboats

Delve into the city’s past with the Alberni Valley Museum’s online digital archives

Vancouver Island communities receive gov’t funding for infrastructure projects

Huu-ay-aht First Nations builds community with $1.8M grant, one among six on Island

Island poets take the mic at July’s virtual Words on Fire in Port Alberni

Jude Neale, Joe Lunchbucket bring distinctly different styles to Quite Determined Literary Road Trip

Summer never ends at Port Alberni’s DRAW Gallery

Exhibit showcases four new Ucluelet artists

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read