Crews from the naval ship HMCS Ottawa did a bit of volunteer work while the ship was docked in Port Alberni last weekend.
Crew members joined volunteers at Redford Corner (at the corner of 10th Avenue and Redford Street) on Saturday, Aug. 13 to construct a gravel path on the green space.
Joe Baldwin, Chief Petty Officer Second Class and chief engineer of the ship, said crews will often try to help out the communities they visit with a volunteer project.
“We also want to be visible,” he explained. “We want Canada to know what we do.”
Paul Quinn, Chief Petty Officer First Class and senior electrician on board the ship, said it’s also a teamwork-building exercise for crew members.
“It’s something different for them to do,” he said.
John Douglas, one of the organizers behind the Redford Corner project, said the work was a “huge help,” since most of the maintenance has been done over the past few months by a small but dedicated group of volunteers.
“We want to help the corner look a little bit nicer and greener at minimum cost,” he explained.
Once completed, the project will also offer employment to people for maintenance of the former brownfield site. The site will eventually include an information kiosk, a path and some flowerbeds. Both San Group and the ADP mill donated lumber last weekend for the completion of the pathway.
Douglas hopes the majority of the work will be finished by late fall.
“The fences are staying up for now,” he added.
The HMCS Ottawa was docked all weekend at SanTerm Berth three. Tours of the ship were offered to Port Alberni residents on Saturday.
Baldwin explained that the HMCS Ottawa was just taken out of refit, and crews are now testing the systems.
“We want to make sure that we’re operational,” he said. “And we’re training our people, too—during COVID-19, we didn’t do a lot of sailing. So now we’re learning how to work together as a crew. Port Alberni was a nice fit for us to come by and see the community.”