The Port Alberni Port Authority has purchased a narrow strip of land beside the Somass Mill and is eyeing a fuel dock for the end of the property.
The land is approximately 2.3 acres and runs the length of the Somass property beside the water that is also Fisherman’s Harbour, explained Dave McCormick, director of public relations and business development for PAPA. The port authority paid $319,000 for the land.
PAPA has been in negotiations with Western Forest Products, owner of Somass Mill, since Brad Madelung was PAPA’s CEO, before the Fisherman’s Harbour improvement project started.
As part of that project, PAPA bought and placed a green pontoon at the end of the Somass property.
“Small Craft Harbours [which owns the Fisherman’s Harbour facility] installed the Somass pier in anticipation of acquiring the Somass lands,” McCormick said.
However, the multi-level approval process has been onerous.
“We’re working with Small Craft Harbours on planning and both parties getting budgetary approval to deck the pontoons. A ramp needs to be installed,” McCormick added.
Once that is in place the port authority will issue a request for proposals from commercial fuel providers.
Commercial vessels will be able to tie up on a short-term basis to load supplies or off-load equipment.
In the future, McCormick said PAPA would like to make the property more accessible to the public.
“The short to medium term is to provide an opportunity for the public to come and get a safer view of the working harbour,” he said.