New leadership coming for McLean Mill

A new board of management for McLean Mill will be taking over direction on Jan. 1.

Beginning on Jan. 1 a new board of management for McLean Mill will take over direction of the mill from the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society (IHS).

With the new board, Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan said he’s not sure what will change but that it’s up to the new board to establish that vision and next steps.

“It will certainly involve some refocusing, some expansion of opportunities and some different kinds of marketing, I’d expect,” Ruttan said.

Being a National Historic Site, Ruttan said nothing physically can change at McLean Mill because the city has an agreement to preserve it until a time between 2028 and 2035.

The visitors’ centre at the entrance to the mill is not included under that agreement.

Ruttan said the new management board will work in partnership with the IHS.

“They will contract the IHS to provide them with services. As a city we will expect them to work together but one is not supervisory over the other,” Ruttan said.

The IHS recently approached Port Alberni City Council to ask for an additional $55, 000 to cover unexpected costs in their 2016 budget.

Ruttan said the new board of management has been left out of the mill’s 2016 operating decisions because the city’s contract was with the IHS

“Our expectation was that the two would work together in consultation and it didn’t for various reasons,”Ruttan said. “It’s a challenge of having two volunteer boards with overlapping responsibilities and changing responsibilities.”

A majority of the IHS’ financial shortfall was due to a deal with the seller of new kitchen equipment falling through; the kitchen was supposed to open at the mill and create revenue.

With no funds to go forward with the kitchen installation after the seller having backed out, the IHS was left with a financial shortfall.

“The contract for the new kitchen and the new equipment was signed by the IHS because they’re the only ones that had the authority to do that,” Ruttan said. “In the end the person that was going to do the installation wasn’t given a final contract… he didn’t ever come to that final agreement with the IHS and so they couldn’t proceed.”

Ruttan said after an inspection with a provincial health authority the new kitchen area was deemed unacceptable for operations.

“Nobody in the province of B.C. can run a commercial kitchen if it hasn’t been fully approved by the provincial health inspector,” Ruttan said. “[The IHS] don’t have the funds to finish the job so a decision is going to have to be made but it hasn’t been yet.”

Ken Rutherford, acting manager at McLean Mill, said the health inspections determined the kitchen was unacceptable for operations because the floor was unfinished and plumbing wasn’t installed.

He said the idea for a new restaurant at the mill was suggested by a member of the McLean Mill advisory committee with expectations it would bring the mill more profit. A member of the board of management suggested a restaurant owner move his recently closed business to the mill site for operations.

“We signed the contract based on the information we were given that the restaurant was going to be a done deal…the kitchen would be up and running and it would make revenue,” Rutherford said.

“When that didn’t happen we tried to make it work by summertime but it was just too big of a job for the small amount of money we had available for us.”

One of the tasks the board of management has taken on is the formation of a McLean Mill society, which is required as a legal entity to accept funds and sign contracts. A change to the BC Societies Act means that the new society cannot be formed until after Nov. 28, therefore the IHS have had no negotiations with the new board as far as how they will operate together.

 

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

 

Just Posted

BCHL: Bulldogs’ Hawthorne commits to NCAA Wildcats

20-year-old goaltender earns scholarship to play Div. 1 hockey next year

Port Alberni realtor trekking the Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team will spend five days hiking in the Sahara Desert

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Port Alberni bear spraying suspect arrested in Coombs

Nanaimo resident facing 16 criminal charges after “well coordinated” RCMP effort

Port Alberni considers implementing ‘hotel tax’ for travellers

Municipal and Regional District Tax could lead to revenue of $325,000, says Collette

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Most Read