The District of Ucluelet is one step closer to seeing a $1.3 million project for Amphitrite Point lands come to life.
During their Jan. 22 regular meeting, Ucluelet’s mayor and council voted unanimously to support the Amphitrite Point project by committing to pay 27 per cent of project costs—about $363,000—and on Jan. 23, a grant funding application was submitted to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) to procure the remaining capital investment needed to develop the site.
“This isn’t done. This is the starting point,” said manager of parks and recreation Abby Fortune.
Since acquiring an 18.3 ha portion of the Amphitrite Point lands from the Canadian Coast Guard in 2018, the District of Ucluelet hired landscape architects Murdoch de Greeff Inc. to carry out a feasibility study to explore potential uses for the lands and historic lighthouse residence.
The feasibility study was presented to two key players: the Wild Pacific Trail Society (WPTS) and the Ucluelet and Area Historical Society.
The District also hosted a public open house in December to garner feedback from the community.
“This gives us some hard costs now and we’ve been able to look at what we are actually going to do,” said Fortune. “If we are successful with the [ICIP] grant then we go into a design process and that will have some public input as well.”
The Amphitrite Point lands serve as a trailhead to the Lighthouse Loop section of the Wild Pacific Trail. Last year, the WPTS took about 1,000 people on guided walks, and an estimated 400,000 people read their interpretive signs, notes Trail Society president Barbara Schramm.
“The WPTS has been dreaming of an interpretive centre for many years. Five years ago, we decided to start offering free interpretive walks on the trail without a building to work from. Now, we have a wonderful Naturalist nearly full-time, and a seasonal tent for a focus area,” said Schramm.
“The promise of a new space with rain shelter and seating areas has us very excited. We only wish the building could happen right away,” she said.
Fortune said the working plans for Amphitrite Point include providing safe viewing platforms for storm watching, revamping the lightkeepers house, and building an outdoor amphitheater.
“We want to celebrate what is Amphitrite Point. A big driving factor is just being true to the actual site and then the safety around it,” Fortune said.
“In terms of the house itself, how can we use that in terms of multi-purpose space for the community and celebrate the heritage as well? I mean, wouldn’t it be lovely to have a latte and go out on the deck and watch the rolling waves?”
Fortune went on to say that her hope for the Amphitrite Point project is to capture the charm and character of Ucluelet.
“People come to our community because there is character and we don’t want to lose that,” notes Fortune, who has called Ucluelet home since 1992.
The ICIP grant opportunity provides funds for cost-sharing infrastructure development between the governments of Canada and B.C. and local governments.
The Amphitrite Point project application was submitted under the ICIP – Community, Culture, and Recreation (CCR) Program grant funding stream.
The District of Tofino sent in an application to the same funding stream requesting funding to build a new gymnasium adjacent to the Tofino Community Hall.