New visitors’ centre opens Port Alberni as a gateway to the Pacific Rim

Port Alberni's chamber of commerce has officially opened its new visitors centre, touted as the gateway to the Pacific Rim.

Dignitaries including MP James Lunney's wife Helen

Dignitaries including MP James Lunney's wife Helen

Port Alberni’s chamber of commerce has officially opened its new visitors centre, touted as the gateway to the Pacific Rim.

Close to 75 people attended the opening on Friday, which included a blessing from Tseshaht First Nation elder Alan Dick for the carved cedar doors, done by his grandson Gordon.

“You can see what a beautiful project it is,” Port Alberni mayor Ken McRae said of the 3,000-square-foot building, which features timber donated by Island Timberlands and milled at McLean Mill National Historic Site.

Island Coastal Economic Trust chairman Barry Janyk, who was chairing a meeting of ICE-T inside the building prior to the opening, said the visitors centre epitomizes the whole point of the trust, which is to ensure that funding for such regional projects is handled locally. The visitors’ centre is one of 70 projects ICE-T has helped fund since 2006, he said.

“This visitors’ centre will help keep the travelling public in the Alberni Valley by showcasing the attractions,” he said. Janyk added that if the Alberni Valley could entice even 10 per cent of the people who travel by the centre to stay one night in the community, that would represent about $1.8 million of extra revenue in the Alberni Valley economy.