City to spend $25k for McLean Mill food services

After recommendations form members of the new McLean Mill Society, the City of Port Alberni will spend $25,000 for mill food services.

The City of Port Alberni has agreed to spend $25,000 to help bring food services to McLean Mill following a recommendation brought forward by the McLean Mill Society board of directors.

During council’s Nov. 14 meeting, the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society, which operates McLean Mill under contract for the city, made a request of $55,000 to cover a shortfall in 2016 related to the costs of installing a kitchen in the mill. Council then requested that the board of directors for the newly formed McLean Mill Society make a recommendation after the IHS’s request.

Bill Collette and Sheena Falconer of the new McLean Mill Society presented to City Council on Dec. 12, although members of the IHS were in the room.

Collette recommended that the city pay $15,000 to the commercial kitchen vendor, which represents a payment due by Dec. 31, and pay a further $10,000 to the IHS to compensate them for the down payment they made for the commercial kitchen. The board of management had no further recommendation for the Nov. 14 request for funds.

Collette emphasized the necessity of a kitchen for the future of the mill. He brought up a Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Report dated Nov. 1993 that recommended food services for the site. “This was a recommendation 24 years ago. When I look at that report, I see a lot of the same stuff that we’ve talked about for the last two years,” said Collette.

“To me, personally, it’s a reasonable purchase,” he went on. “What we are missing there today if we really want to grow McLean Mill is food services.”

Collette said he felt confident that the kitchen could be renegotiated with the current vendors.

“I do think that there are some holes in the agreement right now that didn’t happen that we were all led to believe would happen,” he said.

Council was divided on the issue. Mayor Mike Ruttan was skeptical and argued, “The kitchen is not a money-making service unless you book it in advance.” He suggested stepping away from the project and re-looking at costs before putting down any money.

“I just feel like we’re moving way too fast and spending way too much money,” he said.

Councillor Jack McLeman, the council liaison for the McLean Mill board of management, made a motion to meet the recommendation of the board with the request that they renegotiate the terms of the kitchen and make sure it’s viable. He made this motion on the terms that the kitchen is not a “non-value kitchen.”

“The board of management has said they will be responsible to the budget to make sure the city is not charged for things they shouldn’t be charged for,” he went on. “Their job is and their mandate is to reduce the subsidy that the city puts into the McLean Mill. I think they should be given that chance to go at it.”

Mayor Ruttan acknowledged, “It’s not a simple decision. I recognize that everybody is trying to make this work and I recognize the need for it.

“But I also recognize that there are so many unknowns of the costs here. So we’re kind of jumping off a cliff and hoping that we’re going to land on something soft.”

The motion was carried after some debate, but one member of the public was not happy. Jim Del Rio stepped forward during the question period to make his dissatisfaction known.

He reiterated that there is no money in the restaurant business. “They do need food services out there, but not to the extent that they’re going,” he said.

“Because that’s a four-month business. And they have to staff it.”

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

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

Just Posted

Getting enough Vitamin D can be challenging for Canadians, especially during winter months. (CONTRIBUTED)
ACTIVE LIVING: The ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a vital role in our health

Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman writes about health issues

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns gives a thumbs up to active transportation during a presentation of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce's Bike SEAT program at McLean Mill National Historic site in Port Alberni on April 16, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
QUINN’S QUIPS: MP Gord Johns takes victory ride for cycling strategy

Johns gained a reputation as the bicycle-riding MP during his first year

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Volunteers from the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society release a bucket filled with 5,000 coho fry into Kitsuksis Creek on the bridge at Batty Road, Saturday, April 24, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVID HOOPER)
Volunteers release thousands of coho fry into Port Alberni creeks

Fry come from small hatchery on McLean Mill National Historic Site

In the five years since the Dry Creek flood abatement project was completed, the pathway built behind commercial buildings on Third Avenue has become overgrown with Scotch broom and other weeds. (PHOTO COURTESY RANDY FRASER)
‘New’ Dry Creek path falls into disrepair in Port Alberni

City’s land access contracts lapse as condition of pathway beside creek deteriorates

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read