The Centre welcomed over 10,000 visitors in the first summer and generates an economic impact of $600,000 in incremental spending.
In Port Alberni, the salmon fishery is both part of the historical economy and an opportunity for further growth. The commercial, sport fishing, Indigenous and recreational fisheries offer community economic development opportunities and extensive outdoor recreation opportunities.
The West Coast Aquatic Stewardship Centre was developed with a vision to create an engaging and financially self-sustaining center that serves as a hub for showcasing and stewarding local aquatic life and activities – especially salmon.
The West Coast Aquatic Stewardship Centre is located in a 2-story building in the Harbour Quay area, adjacent to the Marina and harbour. Designed with innovative and interactive displays in mind, the Centre attracts visitors of all ages. Funding was used to create exhibits that include live tanks, interpretive panels and multi media interfaces guiding visitors through the exciting life-cycle of the salmon. The Centre also resonates with Port Alberni’s title of “Ultimate Fishing Town” and local attractions, such as the largest salmon run on Vancouver Island, the Stamp Falls fishway and the numerous fishing locations in the region. The project also includes a conference room and educational space and staff office.
The Centre joins a growing network of other marine-based destinations in the region, distinguishing itself through its unique content. In its first summer of operations, the Centre exceeded its anticipated visitation numbers and welcomed more than 10,000 visitors, generating more than $600,000 in incremental spending.