Port Alberni becomes the hub of a blue economy.
The Coastal Restoration Society has chosen Port Alberni as a permanent hub for coastal restoration initiatives. The announcement was made public on May 9.
The company has a number of projects that provide jobs while ensuring the ocean ecosystem remains healthy, from site remediation and shoreline cleanups to stock assessment and marine wildlife monitoring. .
Captain Josh Temple, executive director of CRS, said he chose Port Alberni as the hub for several reasons.
“Obviously its geographic location is central to much of our operating area,” he said. “There are a lot of advantages from a logistical point of view. It is an excellent hub for our operations along Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea.
Port Alberni also has one of the highest per capita Aboriginal populations on Vancouver Island, which is consistent with the company’s “First Nations First” policy.
Coastal Restoration Society works to ensure that meaningful employment and contract opportunities are first provided to local indigenous people.
And the third reason?
“We really like Port Alberni,” Temple said with a laugh.
The Coastal Restoration Society has developed “very close working relationships” with Tseshaht First Nation, Hupacasath First Nation and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Temple said, and CRS also has strong support from the city. of Port Alberni and its mayor and council. The company already has a temporary access permit in place with the city that allows them to use the waterfront.
“The vision they have – moving from a resource-based economy to one more focused on blue and green opportunities – fits very well with our philosophy,” Temple said. “Really, where else would we have landed?” »
Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions took to social media after the announcement to congratulate CRS.
“This company does an amazing job of environmental leadership and we are so proud to become the center of their business,” she said. “We look forward to supporting their continued growth in our region in the years to come.”
Temple says CRS is in the process of purchasing a building in Port Alberni, but CRS is also looking to secure light industrial land on the city’s waterfront in the coming months.
“We are in discussions with a few landowners,” Temple said.
CRS has done a lot of work on the west coast of Vancouver Island over the past few years and in Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound, from beach cleanups to derelict vessel removal and even disaster management. invasive species.
In Port Alberni, CRS is “just getting started,” Temple said.
“It just sets the stage for some very large-scale work to come,” he said.
Much of this work depends on funding, but the company has already undertaken a subtidal survey of Alberni Harbour. They plan to “really clean up” some of the industrial deposits left over from over 100 years of waterfront use with shoreline cleanups and ghost gear salvage.
The company is also developing mitigation and control plans for an infestation of invasive European green crabs.