The proposed WCA stewardship centre would be housed in the space vacated by the Clock Tower Gallery last year.

Quay to see new aquatic stewardship centre

A new aquatic stewardship centre could be set to open at Harbour Quay this summer if city council amends a zoning bylaw permitting it.

A new aquatic stewardship centre could be set to open at Harbour Quay this summer if city council amends a zoning bylaw permitting such a use.

During a public hearing on Monday, March 30, council heard a proposal from West Coast Aquatic to amend the “waterfront commercial” zone to include stewardship centres as one of its uses.

West Coast Aquatic intends to take over the space vacated by Clock Tower Gallery last year, in the Marine building at the quay.

City planner Scott Smith said the rezoning would not impact any of the other businesses in the building or others zoned as waterfront commercial.

“The proposed centre is an excellent fit with the overall Harbour Quay and would be an important addition to the Alberni Valley that would be of interest to  tourists and residents alike,” Smith said. “The stewardship centre would highlight and educate on a very important natural resource in the Alberni Valley.”

Sheena Falconer, project manager for the WCA Stewardship Association, said the aquarium would include eight tanks and mimic the life cycle of salmon and other aquatic life.

“The vision is to look at it like it’s the life of salmon, so starting out in fresh water and then go along the outside edge of the space and take you from freshwater species to estuary species to beach species down to ocean levels.”

According to a WCA press release, the $370,000 project will be funded with $140,000 worth of grants from the Island Coastal Economic Trust, with the other funding sources to be determined in the coming weeks.

During the public hearing, Falconer told council that “the tanks are designed to be quite interactive so that people can pop their heads up into the tanks and fish will be swimming around them.”

The centre will be interactive and include tablets, microphones and the chance to interact with live specimens to fully engage visitors.

Smith said that the new stewardship centre would require “extensive renovations to the inside of the building.

“The centre will serve as a launch pad to learn about interpretive trails and other attractions and excursions in the Alberni Valley and Barkley Sound area.”

The stewardship centre will be open year round “but the displays will change periodically, both for peoples’ interests coming in to see the displays and also to reflect the needs of the animals at certain times throughout the season.”

Falconer assured council that the stewardship centre would operated “to the highest ethical standard of animal care, so I think everyone can feel good about what happens there.”

Although they’ve had a few delays, Falconer said that WCA is hoping to have the stewardship centre open sometime this summer.

Just Posted

BUSINESS BEAT: New entrepreneurs investing in Port Alberni

Portal Curios and Oddities opening in Harbour Quay

Saanich man, passenger escape injury in Mt Arrowsmith rollover

A visitor from the South Island escaped injury after rolling his SUV… Continue reading

Port Alberni residents, city council divided on rules for cannabis stores

Public speaks up about pot at committee of the whole meeting

Port Alberni RCMP officers honoured for bravery

Five faced ‘violent, deranged’ male during break-in

Alberni Valley Bulldogs battle against top teams in the BCHL

Bulldogs split weekend games against Spruce Kings, Chiefs

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read