It’s official: Port Alberni’s Salmon Festival will be moving to Tyee Landing for Labour Day 2017.
Salmon Fest president Dan Washington confirmed the move on Tuesday, adding the hard work of planning the event at a new venue starts now.
“I met with Mike (Mayor Mike Ruttan), Zoran (Knezevic, CEO of the Port Alberni Port Authority) and Dave McCormick (PAPA director of business development) and they perceive that Clutesi Haven Marina will be a construction zone Labour Day weekend next year,” Washington said.
“We’re trying to figure where we can put everything; that’s our big deal now.”
The biggest quandary is what to do about a weigh-in and fish cleaning facility: Tyee Landing is situated beside the commercial dock, which doesn’t have such facilities for sportfishing, he said. The Tyee Club has been consulted for ideas, as has Knezevic.
“There’s no facility down there. It’s a fuel dock and go, and a commercial dock for the commercial fishermen. Zoran said he’ll look into it,” Washington said.
He has asked for aerial photographs of the site so Salmon Festival committee members can pencil in where they think the best place for activities like the salmon barbecue and the beer garden can go.
“We’ve discussed a couple of locations,” he said.
“Hopefully we can make everything fit.”
Moving locations is also providing Salmon Fest with a clean slate as far as ideas go. “We’re looking for new things,” Washington said. “This is a great break.”
The festival used to have such events as waiter races and bed races, and people have reminisced about the activities that are no longer around.
“This will give a good chance for South Port to get involved. This will bring everyone into South Port rather than heading out of town,” he said.
“I think we were maybe getting a little stale at Clutesi. This will bring back the existing crowd and hopefully bring back people who haven’t attended in a few years.
“We’ll look at everything. It’s very exciting.”
McCormick said the port authority will support Salmon Fest’s move to Tyee Landing, if that is what the committee has decided.
“In terms of using that facility (Tyee Landing) for staging an event, it’s one of many things the port authority had in mind,” he said.
Anyone wanting to pitch ideas for Salmon Fest 2017 can go online to the website at salmonfestival.ca and follow the link to e-mail a query.