An aerial photograph of the Somass Lands in Port Alberni on a cloudless summer day.

Photo Credit: @PAPortAuthority | Twitter

It’s 43 Acres of Pure Potential

City looking for the best ideas on how to develop old sawmill property

How would you invest in Port Alberni’s core?

You know the old Somass Sawmill? That huge 43 acre property right on the waterfront?

Well, the city bought the lands in 2021 for $5.3 Million. Now, they’re trying to figure out what to do with it.

During a council meeting, Mayor Sharie Minions said interest in the lands has been “overwhelming.”

But the city wants to make sure that Port Alberni gets the last say in how the land is used—particularly our small business owners.

“We wanted to make sure when we began a public process on the redevelopment of this site that we didn’t overlook the fact that there are several small businesses in our community who we think want to have a part in that redevelopment, as well,” she said.

Through an official Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) process, the city hopes to identify parties who have a solid ideas on how to develop Somass Lands.

The REOI is open to anyone who wants to either buy the property or partner with the city to redevelop it. This includes business owners who would like to open a new business or expand their existing operations on the property.

The REOI is apparently “just the beginning” of the path towards new development. It will be followed by a Request for Qualifiers, and possibly a Request for Proposals process before final selections are made in 2023.

You could be part of a new future for Port Alberni. If you’d like to express interest in pushing forward a new development you can head to

We’re looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.