The McLean Mill Visitors Centre Hall, decorated for a wedding event on September 9, 2017. CHELSEA DAWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Wedding plans derailed following City of Port Alberni’s train announcement

Five wedding parties are scrambling to find alternate transportation arrangements to McLean Mill National Historic Site now that the City of Port Alberni has cancelled all train trips to the mill for 2019.

The brides-and-grooms-to-be had already booked the train as part of their wedding packages at the mill.

READ: City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

One groom-to-be noted on social media that they hadn’t been given notice that the train was going to be cancelled, and his wedding is only two months away. “Definitely only booked because there would be transportation for guests,” he said.

Family of another bride coming from out of province said she is disappointed that the city has “bailed” on its commitment to run the train for her wedding.

City of Port Alberni CAO Tim Pley said the city is working with individual wedding parties on their transportation needs, and are seeking alternate forms of transportation such as shuttle buses. That suggestion has elicited comments and at least one meme poking fun at the idea of a wedding shuttle bus vs. a train.

Pley said although transportation via train to McLean Mill is sold as part of a wedding package, it is a line item just as the venue or food services is a line item. “There is a clear rider at the bottom of the (booking sheet) that acknowledges the train is heritage equipment and is prone to short notice non-availability. People who book it, acknowledge that when they book it,” he said.

“I’m not trying to say it’s anybody else’s fault, but our practice is to warn everybody that we might not be able to provide this because it’s been so challenging in the past.”

One bride-to-be responded to an online comment from mayor Sharie Minions that her contract states some “equipment” is old and cannot be guaranteed, but because there is more than one train she didn’t think that was a risk. She also said she received an e-mail in December from someone at the mill stating that a train would be available, they just didn’t know which one.

Pley said the city will approach each wedding party individually about transportation challenges, and that they are considering refunds if the parties find their own transportaton.

We’re working on what that would look like,” he said.

There are 14 weddings in total booked into McLean Mill as a venue for the coming season, including the five that paid for the train.

There were other events besides weddings that had already reserved the train, and they will also be approached, he said.

“I think council considered disruptions to any and all people that had bookings. That’s what makes this so difficult.”

Council has not yet passed its 2019 budget, which will need to be adopted by mid-May.

Pley said the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society, which operates the train for the city, could put a train on the tracks if they wanted to assume financial responsibility without the city’s assistance.

“If they want to operate the train and don’t rely on city resources, that would be a conversation to see how we would enable that,” he said.

The AV News has reached out to the IHS for comment.

Just Posted

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Father and son duo win Iron Man tournament at Alberni Golf Course

Forty men teed it up for the Iron Man tournament on Sunday

EDITORIAL: Issues, not pettiness, must drive election

Who do you trust? Is that what the latest federal election is going to chalk up to?

BIZ BEAT: Alberni Chamber of Commerce to host women in business forum

Jowsey’s partners with WCGH Foundation for fundraiser

ARTS AROUND: Colourful fundraiser headed to the Alberni Valley

Aché Brasil Dance troop is an explosion of colour, energy and music

Shambhala named best music festival in North America

Shambhala Music Festival is held at the Salmo River Ranch in B.C.

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Most Read