The Uchucklesaht Thunderbird building

Thunderbird nears completion

Members of the Uchucklesaht Tribe have moved into their new cultural and administration building on Argyle Street.

Members of the Uchucklesaht Tribe have moved into their new cultural and administration building on Argyle Street, The Thunderbird, as construction nears completion.

“The building is 99 per cent complete, said Uchucklesaht CAO Scott Coulson. “The main part that isn’t completed is the sidewalks and the city is behind that. That’s why it still kind of looks like a construction zone.”

Construction of the four-storey building began in early 2015 after the Uchucklesaht received a development permit from the City of Port Alberni.

Originally buying the old Somass Hotel in July 2014, the Uchucklesaht planned to renovate the building at an estimated cost of $6 million. However, after months of working on the old hotel, it was determined that the building couldn’t be restored and was therefor demolished. Constructing a new building increased the project cost to about $9 million.

“I love being in here,” Coulson said. “It’s a great location…being down by the waterfront is really beautiful.”

In addition to serving as an administrative office for Uchucklesaht staff, the Thunderbird offers 32 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

They’re about two-thirds full, we’re being quite picky,” Coulson said.

“All the one bedrooms are gone. Basically we have two-bedroom units left and everybody that’s in them just loves being here.”

To highlight culture and heritage, the exterior of the building is designed with colours taken from the Uchucklesaht Tribe emblem—green, red, orange, yellow, black and white.

Also adding to the element of traditions, the Thunderbird comes equipped with a carving studio on the ground floor off Kingsway Avenue for artists to use as a space to create.

“We want artists to come in and use it but it will have to be arranged,” Coulson said. “We are hiring an artist first to do a totem to get some activity in there.”

(Story continues below)

Three of the walls in the 14-foot-ceiling room are glass so folks can look inside and watch the artists at work.

Boardrooms in the building are available for rent from Monday to Friday and offer large tables made of old-growth cedar from Uchucklesaht treaty settlement lands.

“They’re spectacular,” Coulson said.

A restaurant will be added to the building’s amenities once a company is chosen to occupy the space.

“The restaurant space is empty right now. We’re probably going to be going back out to our request for proposal again,” Coulson said. “I think it will be a really sought after space.”

Adding to the exterior landscape, a green space is being constructed in the upper lot above the building on Argyle. The space will serve as a park area and be used as a parking lot for Thunderbird staff and residents.

 

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Tsunami warning issued for Coastal B.C.

It is recommended that individuals residing below 20 metres should move to higher ground.

Stakeholders tackle poverty in Port Alberni

Residents invited to share ideas for solution at Tuesday (Jan. 23) meeting

Break and enters on the rise in Port Alberni

Thieves targeting garages, sheds and storage trailers

Stolen property recovered at Dry Creek Park

Port Alberni RCMP are looking for owners of the recovered items

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Most Read