The City of Port Alberni has hired a contractor from Nanaimo to complete the Waterfront North Development study.
Nanaimo firm HB Lanarc will undertake the $75,000 study. Work is scheduled to begin shortly and is slated to finish in March.
The initiative is being undertaken by the city, Port Alberni Port Authority, as well as the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations. The cost of the study was split between the parties.
The study will examine the area between the Hydro Substation on Stamp Avenue and Roger Street. The plan will also examine potential economic and land uses for Clutesi Haven Marina, Stirling Field and North Port.
The study is economically driven and focused on getting a portion of the people who travel through to Tofino to stop, stay and discover Port Alberni, city planner Scott Smith said.
The Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations territories border the study area, and they have interests to be considered from the outset.
“It’s an opportunity to get involved at the strategic planning stage of waterfront development,” Tseshaht chief operating officer Cindy Stern said.
The tribes were involved with crafting the terms of reference and with the selection of Lanarc, Stern said.
“We were impressed with their whole package and that they’re including a lot of public input,” Stern said. “We get to contribute and ensure that Tseshaht values are considered.”
The nations underwrote their contribution with a combination of their own money and funds from the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation, Hupacasath Chief Councillor Steven Tatoosh said.
The tribes have a rich history in the Valley that is tied to the waterfront. “Our people resided along the river and our history is intertwined with the waterway,” Tatoosh said.
“We’d rather work with the city and port authority in this than just be spectators.”