The City of Port Alberni on Monday unveiled its ‘Connect the Quays’ concept, which would connect Victoria Quay and Harbour Quay with a multi-use path.
The project has potential on a number of fronts.
It has long been a lament for residents that we live so close to the Alberni Inlet, yet don’t have enough access to the waterfront. We have pockets of access—Clutesi Haven Marina, Victoria Quay, Millstone Park, Tyee Landing, Harbour Quay, the Maritime Discovery Centre pier—but nothing that connects them.
When COVID-19 shut down our community, people were still drawn to these areas. The parking lots at Harbour Quay, Victoria Quay and Millstone Park were filled with a constant flow of cars as people sought a change of scenery or a breath of fresh air. The continued popularity of Kitsuksis Dyke is also proof that another waterfront pathway would be well used.
The Connect the Quays pathway would provide a solution to the disconnect between access points, and down the road may also stimulate development.
Other communities have similar walkways or trail systems—Courtenay’s Rotary Trail, for example, was built in phases over a number of years, and stretches two and a half kilometres. That is only one trail in the Comox Valley, but there are numerous other examples.
On the west coast, the Wild Pacific Trail was built in phases and with public consultation and cooperation. There is a path alongside the Pacific Rim Highway outside of Tofino, and Parks Canada is working on a 25-kilometre, multi-use path called ?apsciik tasii Corridor that will essentially connect Ucluelet with Tofino through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the traditional territories of Tla-o-qui-aht and Yuulu?il?ath (Ucluelet) First Nations.
The key with these other community projects, of course, is the word “phase.” Any multi-use path connecting Victoria Quay to Harbour Quay doesn’t have to be done overnight. It can be done purposefully, in partnership and most importantly, economically.
There is also an unspoken benefit to a quay-to-quay path: it might entice some of that tourist traffic heading to the west coast to stop in Port Alberni and explore a little more than Highway 4.
— Alberni Valley News