The trees on top of the Harbourview Lands at the bottom of Argyle Street are a feature many don’t want to see disappear. The City of Port Alberni is asking people what they would like to see happen to this area. SUSAN QUINN/ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS

Port Alberni looks at developing Harbourview lands near Harbour Quay

Port Alberni city council will review a request for proposals

The City of Port Alberni will be developing a request for proposals (RFP) for two parcels of land in the Uptown area known as the Harbourview lands.

In February, the city ran a consultation program with online and in-person engagement, including a Feb. 19 committee of the whole meeting, to receive community feedback on the future of the city-owned lots. City planner Katelyn McDougall presented the results from this consultation during a council meeting on Monday, March 11. The purpose of the consultation, she explained, was to have “an open and honest discussion” with the community.

Comments from the public were torn between interest in developing the site and a desire for more green space in the city.

The online engagement portion of the consultation had 67 survey responses, of which 57 percent expressed a desire to develop the Harbourview Lands in order to revitalize the downtown area. Respondents provided their own ideas for the lands, including seniors’ housing, mixed-use buildings and a protected park. Area neighbours were also engaged—some were concerned about a loss of green space, while others “expressed excitement” about a potential development.

“The community has really mixed opinions about the future of the Harbourview Lands,” McDougall concluded on Monday. “Ultimately…there’s probably a balanced approach that the city could take. That would probably involve developing a portion of the land while being very mindful and putting specific caveats around public open space and preserving some area for park. “

The lots, which are zoned for core business, present the city with a “unique opportunity” to revitalize and redefine the downtown core, but previous attempts to develop the plans have been met with either opposition from the community or a lack of interest from developers. The area is approximately 2.166 acres and consists of a gravel parking area, a grass and treed area and a public laneway. The land offers views of the Alberni Inlet and is located between Harbour Quay and the Uptown arts district.

Council asked city staff to develop an RFP for the entire site and bring it back to council for review.

Councillor Cindy Solda made the motion on Monday, pointing out that an RFP is a good way to test the market and see what developers want to do with the lands.

Mayor Sharie Minions agreed, but said more work needs to be done before the RFP is put out to the public. “I don’t want to see us make any decisions on moving foward with putting out an RFP until we hear from First Nations,” she said, adding that the area is an important site for local First Nations.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Alberni athletes put on fitness ‘FUNdraiser’ for frontline workers

Outdoor boot camp will be limited to 50, with donations helping frontline workers’ mental health

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Airforce search and rescue helicopter drops in at Cameron Lake for training

Distinctive yellow CH-149 Cormorant turns heads after using Island lake for impromptu hoist

QUINN’S QUIPS: What makes a building historically significant?

There’s a difference between heritage designation and a heritage register

Nominate a hero for BC Autism Awards

Quality Foods sponsoring the third annual awards

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Missed rent payments because of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

Most Read