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Port Alberni buys Somass Sawmill lands for $5.3 million

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Photo: Port Alberni
The City of Port Alberni has purchased these five properties from Western Forest Products for $5.3 million.

The City of Port Alberni has purchased five properties, including the Somass Division Sawmill, from Western Forest Products for $5.3 million.
As a result of a negotiated agreement the city will formally withdraw the expropriation process on the Somass Lands that was announced this summer.
The land purchase includes the property on which Somass Division Sawmill is situated, a property currently used as a parking lot for Somass Division Sawmill, two properties that include Harbour Road and the rail right of way extending from Argyle Street to the northern gate of Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill.
A linear portion of land to be subdivided from a larger parcel on which HemVal Kilns is situated. The portion of land will extend from Dunbar Street and include the bed and upland on both banks of Dry Creek. 
“Each of these properties represents significant strategic value both today, and as we move forward in this changing community,” said Mayor Sharie Minions.
“We are grateful that Western worked with the city to achieve this agreement and pleased we were able to come to a negotiated purchase that recognizes the needs of both parties.”
“With the purchase of the smaller parcels, the city gains full ownership of Harbour Road and the rail corridor that provide access to waterfront properties. This will enable a strategic and well-planned redevelopment of these key areas. “Ownership of the Dry Creek corridor provides the community with an attractive loop option for the Quay to Quay Path.”
Minions added "acquiring the Somass Lands and adjacent parking lot has been a primary focus of city council since shortly after being elected in 2018. Remediating and repurposing these lands in a way that recognizes the shifting nature of our vibrant community represents a fundamental shift for the City of Port Alberni. City council is thrilled to be moving forward on the purchase of these properties which is key in actioning the City’s Corporate Strategic Plan."
The City’s corporate strategic plan identifies public access to waterfront and a thriving waterfront economy as key goals. The city intends that the Somass Lands will be redeveloped in a manner consistent with this plan.
“A primary goal of this purchase is to create permanent public access to the waterfront and park-space for the people of the Alberni Valley to enjoy,” Minions said.

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