City Opens Portion of Somass Waterfront

City Opens Portion of Somass Waterfront

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Port Alberni, BC – The City of Port Alberni is excited to open a new waterfront space for the people of Port Alberni just in time for Canada Day. Beginning July 1st, daytime access will be enabled to a section of land bordering a portion of the former Somass Sawmill site.

“Increasing the amount of waterfront space available for public use in our community is a cornerstone goal of the Council’s Corporate Strategic Plan.” said Mayor Sharie Minions. “With some minimal improvements to enhance this naturally beautiful area, we were able to create a safe and accessible piece of waterfront for the community to enjoy. Council encourages everyone to visit this new space, enjoy the unique view of our waterfront and imagine the vibrant future that this remarkable section of waterfront lands will become.”

In August 2021, the City purchased several parcels of former industrial land including the long-vacant Somass Sawmill site. The opening of a portion of the waterfront to public access is a first step in the strategic redevelopment of those lands.

The Somass lands public access waterfront area is approximately 12 metres (40 feet) wide and 250 metres (800 feet) long. The sole public access point will be via a gate at the western end of Tyee Landing. Public access will be enabled each day from dawn until dusk. Access will be multimodal, allowing for pedestrians, and other active transportation such as wheelchairs, bikes and scooters.  No motor vehicles are permitted. 

The new public access area was made safe for public use by City Parks and Public Works crews and several local contractor firms. Some materials such as gravel, asphalt and fencing were brought in from off-site, while other materials such as bark mulch and safety barriers were repurposed from elsewhere on the property. The new area will one day be a part of an attractive loop option to the Connect the Quays Pathway route currently at the design stage.

“The redevelopment of the Somass Sawmill site will be a multi-year project likely to include many partners,” said Mayor Minions. “While this public access is just a small first step, it is so exciting to know we are making the most of our waterfront, adapting to the needs of our changing community and creating the future we envision.” 


For More Information

Sharie Minions, Mayor

City of Port Alberni