Port Alberni’s clock tower in Harbour Quay is poised to receive a facelift.
The city of Port Alberni is considering a partnership with the Tseshaht First Nation to create a Tseshaht art piece and interpretive signage for the Harbour Quay Clock Tower.
“This is groundbreaking,” said Mayor Mike Ruttan in a release dated Thursday, Aug. 9. “It is the first such partnership between the city and Tseshaht First Nation and is a reflection of recent reconciliation efforts and residents’ desires to create an inclusive community that celebrates diversity and local history.”
The clock tower has been a prominent landmark in Port Alberni for more than 30 years. Constructed in 1983 and 1984, it commemorates a contribution from the estate of Fred Duncan, the long-time owner-publisher of the Alberni Valley Times.
When contacted by the city, Fred Duncan’s son Robert expressed gratitude that the clock tower was to be refurbished and saw the collaboration as a positive step for the Valley. He requested that a plaque acknowledging the contribution of his father’s estate remain on the tower.
A new collaboration will recognize the historic Tseshaht winter village of Tlukwatku-is (Wolf Ritual Beach) near Harbour Quay, honouring the wolf as the fundamental holder for the Tseshaht Law of Harmony and celebrating the Alberni Valley’s rich local history and culture.
“With this project, the Tseshaht First Nation and the city of Port Alberni will continue to move forward together in the spirit of reconciliation, building a partnership that fosters true collaboration,” said Tseshaht First Nation elected chief councillor Cynthia Dick.
Funding for the clock tower refurbishment was set aside in last year’s financial plan, with an assigned budget of $100,000. Although the clock tower is in need of refurbishment to restore it from the effects of time and weather, former facilities supervisor Mark Zenko confirmed during a January city council meeting that the structure of the tower is sound.
The project will be discussed further during a Monday, Aug. 13 meeting of city council at 2 p.m. If the project proceeds, clock tower ownership and public access will not change.