Crowds of people watch a demonstration at McLean Mill’s steam sawmill in April 2007. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO

Port Alberni to consider the future of McLean Mill

City council will be holding a committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 21

The City of Port Alberni will be discussing the future of McLean Mill and tourism rail during a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Jan. 21.

The meeting, which starts at 3:30 p.m. in council chambers, will be open for stakeholder and public input, including input through the city’s various social media platforms.

McLean Mill has been a topic of contention for years, with residents and politicians torn between the site’s historic significance and the cost of upkeep.

The McLean Mill Society was formed in 2016 to take over operation of the site, but underwent a change of board members in July of 2018. Shortly afterwards, the volunteer board held a pair of public meetings to gain input from the public and establish a “new direction” for McLean Mill.

READ: Alberni’s McLean Mill Society looking for a new direction

The future of the mill was called into question in December, after $200,000 had to be allocated from the city’s contingency budget to repair the site’s log pond.

“We just can’t keep spending money forever,” said Mayor Sharie Minions at the time.

READ: Future of McLean Mill in question after log pond incident

To provide feedback on the topic of McLean Mill or the steam train, you can attend the meeting in person, submit your feedback via or email The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s website.

Minions said the city is taking “a new approach” to committee of the whole meetings by attempting to engage with more members of the public.

“Our goal is to reach a broader segment of the community by taking input across a number of platforms, effectively bringing the meeting to the people,” she posted on Facebook.

Both the McLean Mill Society and Industrial Heritage Society will be in council chambers on Monday to provide their own input.

No decisions will be made during the meeting, but the minutes will be carried on to a future regular meeting of council.

The City of Port Alberni will also be holding its first budget meeting of the year on Monday, taking a look at some of the projects that are being considered for the 2019-2023 Five Year Financial Plan. This meeting will take place at 1 p.m. in council chambers.

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