The trees on top of the Harbourview Lands at the bottom of Argyle Street are a feature many don’t want to see disappear. SUSAN QUINN/ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS

Port Alberni city council votes to keep the trees at Harbour Quay

RFP issued for the rest of the Harbourview lands

Port Alberni city council is ensuring that Harbour Quay’s green space will be protected from any future development.

The city has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for development of the Harbourview lands near Harbour Quay, but council agreed to retain ownership of the treed portion of the lands facing the waterfront.

City CAO Tim Pley presented a draft RFP on Monday, May 13, which applied to the entire parcel of land. Mayor Sharie Minions, however, said that the community values the frontstand of trees facing the waterfront, and asked council to retain ownership of the treed portion and put the rest out for RFP.

READ: Port Alberni looks at developing Harbourview lands near Harbour Quay

“I think it would give a higher level of comfort if we excluded the front treed portion and looked to keep that as a park,” said Minions, pointing out that the city doesn’t have any bylaws for protecting trees. “If we sell this entire parcel to a developer, they can come in and cut down any tree they want because we have literally no protection.”

Pley pointed out that the importance of retaining the trees is already incorporated in the RFP. “The city will weigh the proposal based on how many trees the developer preserves,” he said.

Councillor Debbie Haggard agreed with this. “We have to trust the developers will do the right thing and when we evaluate their proposals, they’ll have a plan in there for these trees,” she said.

Councillor Helen Poon added that putting too many restrictions in the RFP might “end up scaring people away.”

Minions, however, said that she hoped to see a piece of public parkland surrounding whatever development goes up on the Harbourview lands, so that the public and community can still enjoy the property.

“I think people are very worried about losing what they see as the only green space in the Harbour Quay waterfront area,” she said.

Her motion was defeated in a 4-2 vote. However, just two weeks later on Monday, May 27, Minions asked council to reconsider the motion that had been defeated.

“I heard overwhelmingly that people wanted the city to protect the trees,” she explained. “I really do believe that we can find the right development that will balance both the value of the trees and the desire that we have to build our tax base.”

Poon admitted that she had changed her viewpoint after looking through social media posts. “It’s true that the community is very protective of those trees,” she said. “I would support this motion.”

Haggard said that she had “faith and trust” in the developer to do the right thing. “However, I’ve been told by other people that maybe I’m a little too trustworthy,” she admitted. “I think this is probably a good opportunity for council to do the right thing and keep those trees.”

Council voted unanimously to move forward with the issuance of an RFP for development of the Harbourview lands, while retaining ownership of the treed portion.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Musical fundraiser in Port Alberni supports life after loss

Camp Kerry Society raising funds to provide grief and loss supports to children and youth

No ‘imminent’ health risks at McLean Mill, says medical health officer

Remediation costs for historic site raises concerns

Port Alberni resident assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Butterflies released in Port Alberni in memory of loved ones

Alberni Valley Hospice Society hosts fourth annual ‘Butterfly Effect’

Overpass, barrier, more parking considered for Cathedral Grove

Provincial government proceeding ‘with caution’

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read