Tseshaht, Hupacasath and the City Reimagine Culturally Historic Site in Port Alberni

Clutesi Marina Haven aerial view photo courtesy Marinas.com

Clutesi Haven Marina on the Somass River will be a major redevelopment project

COURTENAY, 5 July, 2023 – The first phase of a plan envisioning how the Clutesi Haven Marina Uplands Site in Port Alberni can support cultural, environmental and economic opportunities will soon be underway. This major redevelopment project is a collaborative project between the Tseshaht First Nation, Hupacasath First Nation, and City of Port Alberni, in partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust with investment from the Investment Readiness Program.

The Clutesi Haven Marina is situated on the tidal fresh waters of the Somass River. Tseshaht First Nation and Hupacasath First Nation are working closely with the City of Port Alberni to implement long-term joint planning for community economic development initiatives and land use while building respectful and sustainable government-to-government partnerships. To help capitalize on this highly valued, visible, and desirable piece of property that sees up to 1.6 million people drive by the site each year, the three governments established a working group and are envisioning how this place can be best redeveloped to the benefit of all community members and visitors.

“This funding is assisting our three governments to work together to bring our vision for Clutesi Haven to a reality,” says Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder, Hupacasath First Nation.

“Tseshaht knows that by working together there is nothing that we cannot achieve; our three governments working together is a sign that the world has changed as we all work towards sustainable economic development to benefit everyone in our territories including the Alberni valley,” says Chief Councillor Wahmeesh(Ken Watts)Tseshaht First Nation.

“This project builds on past efforts between the Tseshaht, Hupacasath, and City to create a destination attraction in the Alberni Valley,” says Mayor Sharie Minions, City of Port Alberni. “We’re looking at the challenges, issues, and opportunities through the lens of each of the three Councils and our senior staff. The idea is to develop a truly shared land use vision for the site that is a long-term financially sustainable partnership.”

In the past, the Tseshaht, Hupacasath and the City worked together to create a modest visitor and community experience at Clutesi Haven Marina. This included food trucks and Indigenous art on display. While the idea allowed a few families to earn income during the summer months and helped amplify the reach of Indigenous art, the project partners had a clear vision to achieve greater potential.

“Our past experience was a catalyst to develop our three-year facilitated First Nation-municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) program,” says Pat Deakin, Economic Development Officer, City of Port Alberni. “It was from here that our workshops and working groups began, and which are today allowing us to embark on this new and collaborative vision.”

The new Master Plan will support the development of the shared land use vision, and the design process for that will take the three partners’ working group through a series of project phases to arrive at a consensus vision and robust plan to be presented to their respective and collective communities. This plan will then be integrated into the City’s Official Community Plan. Once those are approved, the partners will move into the second phase of implementing the vision.

“This project is very exciting for the Trust to be supporting. We appreciate the opportunity to work with Tseshaht, Hupacasath, and Port Alberni in this work of sharing responsibility to form a consensus vision between three governments through collaborative leadership,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust.

“Partnerships such as this do more than just bring people to the table, they help foster new ideas, allow for sharing of resources, and build lasting relationships while working towards great outcomes that will benefit so many people,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “The Clutesi Haven Marina Uplands site holds so much potential, and I can’t wait to see the final plan for the future of the site!”

Island Coastal Economic Trust has committed $30,000 to this project through the Trust’s Investment Readiness Program’s Regional Collaboration stream.

The project will be underway imminently.


About Island Coastal Economic Trust

Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust works to build a sustainable and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution. Serving over half a million residents, we partner with communities in the development and financing of their economic infrastructure and diversification efforts through our unique structure that is led by, and accountable to, communities.

Since our inception, Island Coastal Economic Trust has approved more than $59 million to economic development initiatives that have attracted over $322 million in new investment to our region. These investments have created over 2,750 permanent jobs, and countless positive impacts, across the coast.

Island Coastal Economic Trust acknowledges that we work for communities across the ancestral and unceded territories of the Kwak̓wala, Nuučaan̓uɫ, Éy7á7juuthem, Ligwilda’xw, Pəntl’áč, She shashishalhem, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples.


Media Contacts

Brodie Guy
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Pat Deakin
Economic Development Officer
The City of Port Alberni