Premier John Horgan made a brief stop in Port Alberni on Wednesday evening (Nov. 13) on his way to Bamfield to discuss improvements to the road.
A pub night at the Blue Marlin Inn on Wednesday was a casual evening of socializing with NDP members, supporters and friends as the premier paid a visit to the Alberni Valley.
Special guests included current Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser and Gerard Janssen, the former MLA for the Alberni riding. Newly re-elected Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns also made an appearance.
“I haven’t seen Gord since the election so I was very happy to see him return,” said Horgan on Wednesday evening.
Horgan was on his way to Bamfield to meet with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and representatives from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and City of Port Alberni so that he could discuss economic development in the region.
“The [Bamfield] road is key to that, but there’s some challenges because the road isn’t owned by the province,” he explained. “It’s owned by Western Forest Products. There’s a range of issues, but we’ll be working through those tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to come up with some solutions around health and safety and following up on the deaths on the road.”
Horgan already met with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations in September to discuss upgrades to the privately owned gravel road that is the only vehicle access between Port Alberni and Bamfield. The road was the site of a bus crash on Sept. 13 that resulted in the deaths of two University of Victoria students.
Horgan said he also plans to meet with Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions to talk about “some of the issues around her plate.” But his objective on Wednesday evening was just to connect with some of the people he hasn’t seen in a while.
“[Tonight] was just an opportunity to stop and see some friends and reconnect,” he added.