The City of Port Alberni has opened a portion of the former Somass Sawmill site for public access. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF PORT ALBERNI)

The City of Port Alberni has opened a portion of the former Somass Sawmill site for public access. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF PORT ALBERNI)

City of Port Alberni opens a portion of Somass sawmill site to public

Site will allow waterfront access for pedestrians and bikes

The City of Port Alberni has opened a portion of the former Somass Sawmill site for public access.

Starting Canada Day (July 1), daytime access will be enabled to a section of land bordering a portion of the site. City staff and local contractors have provided some “minimal improvements” to the area, including the addition of gravel, asphalt, fencing and safety barriers.

The city purchased the waterfront site in 2021 and formally took over the property in February 2022. Mayor Sharie Minions said in a press release that opening a portion of the site for public access is a “first step” in the strategic redevelopment of the site.

READ MORE: Somass sawmill site a gem on the water in Port Alberni

“Increasing the amount of waterfront space available for public use in our community is a cornerstone goal of the council’s Corporate Strategic Plan,” said Minions. “With some minimal improvements to enhance this naturally beautiful area, we were able to create a safe and accessible piece of waterfront for the community to enjoy. Council encourages everyone to visit this new space, enjoy the unique view of our waterfront and imagine the vibrant future that this remarkable section of waterfront lands will become.”

The public area is approximately 12 metres wide and 250 metres long. Public access will be enabled each day from dawn to dusk via a gate at the western end of Tyee Landing. Access will be multimodal, allowing for pedestrians and other active transportation such as wheelchairs, bikes and scooters. No motor vehicles are permitted.

Minions says the new area will one day be a part of a loop option for the Connect the Quays pathway.

READ MORE: Port Alberni receives $2.5 million in grant funding for Connect the Quays pathway

“The redevelopment of the Somass Sawmill site will be a multi-year project likely to include many partners,” she said. “While this public access is just a small first step, it is so exciting to know we are making the most of our waterfront, adapting to the needs of our changing community and creating the future we envision.”

Port Alberni

 

The City of Port Alberni has opened a portion of the former Somass Sawmill site for public access. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF PORT ALBERNI)

The City of Port Alberni has opened a portion of the former Somass Sawmill site for public access. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF PORT ALBERNI)