City of Port Alberni
PORT ALBERNI – Matthews West Developments Ltd. was selected as the development partner for the redevelopment of the 43-acre property, formerly the site of the Somass Division sawmill, following a rigorous Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) process that launched in early September 2022. Next steps include the delivery of a draft Master Plan which will lay out the vision for the site.
“Throughout each step of the process we will be seeking feedback from First Nations and residents to ensure we are proceeding in a transparent and thoughtful way that provides the best long-term results for the community,” said City of Port Alberni Mayor, Sharie Minions.
“Tseshaht First Nation would like to acknowledge the City of Port Alberni staff and Mayor and Council for taking action on these sacred Tseshaht lands, addressing an idle space, cleaning up some of the environmental issues and derelict buildings on this important property,” said Elected Chief Councillor Wahmeesh (Ken Watts), Tseshaht First Nation. “We look forward to working with Matthews West Development and the City of Port Alberni in the spirit of rights, recognition, respect and reconciliation. Let’s honour the past, collaborate in the present and create the best foundation for future generations.”
“We are working together on this project to provide economic diversity and a greater use of an area that will provide more waterfront space and jobs for all the people of our wonderful valley,” said Elected Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder, Hupačasath First Nation.
Significant progress is being made on the site to-date with close to 90 percent of the leftover material diverted from the landfill and recycled, reused or sold, with funds going back into City projects.
The City has also partnered with North Island College to provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about deconstruction and salvage with the launch of a new program in February. The program teaches students to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to safely work in the building deconstruction and salvage industry and will provide hands-on on-site experience with deconstruction of existing buildings.
For the safety of both the public and workers, the site remains inaccessible to the public at this time.
To stay updated on the project, visit letsconnectpa.ca/somass-lands.