A long-envisioned educational haven at Amphitrite Point took a $1 million leap towards reality last week.
In a joint announcement Friday, the provincial and federal governments promised $41.9 million of funding towards 22 infrastructure projects across Vancouver Island and Ucluelet was delighted to find itself on the list of beneficiaries.
The district will receive $544,320 from the federal government and $453,554 from the provincial government towards its Amphitrite Point Project. The district has also budgeted $362,926 from its own Resort Municipality Initiative coffers to round out the $1.36 million bill.
The project is centred around Amphitrite’s former lighthouse keeper’s house, which overlooks the lighthouse and a popular portion of Ucluelet’s famed Wild Pacific Trail.
“It’s great. I’m glad that we can now go public on it and I look forward to the community dialogue,” Noel said. “We really do believe that this is going to be a cool initiative for the community…We’ve got some great ideas and, now that we’ve got it actually in writing and it’s officially official, we can start to work with groups like the Wild Pacific Trail Society about how this could unfold.”
The house will be given a significant facelift and transformed into a multi-purpose space, fit for meetings, gatherings and lectures and an outdoor auditorium will be built for presentations and interpretive displays that celebrate the region’s cultural and natural histories. A new wraparound deck and two washrooms are also part of the project.
Ucluelet’s district office laid out its plan for the house’s transformation to the community in January and has hosted open house events since then to solicit suggestions from residents on what they’d like to see created in the space.
“There’s been a lot of really good feedback that’s come in and I imagine, now that it’s public, there will be more community dialogue as this unfolds,” Noel said.
He noted that Ucluelet’s portion of the funding is coming entirely from RMI dollars, meaning local taxpayers aren’t on the hook but will benefit greatly as groups and organizations currently using the UAC Hall, like Ucluelet’s Beavers and Scouts programs, could migrate over to the new space.
“What a wonderful facility we’re going to be able to create that’s going to benefit the residents and it’s hidden under the resort municipality umbrella,” he said.
He said he expect to see shovels hitting the ground on the new project within the next six months and hinted towards talks heating up around the district inheriting the nearby former Coast Guard building from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“We’re almost there,” he said. “It’s definitely a live conversation still in the background.”
He added the town’s council has been steadfastly committed to enhancing the Amphitrite area because of its natural landscape and bountiful potential.
“When you’re looking at Ucluelet growing out and when we talk about education centres and possible expansion of stuff like that in our community, the whole Amphitrite property is going to be a key component to that,” he said.
“This is going to be the start of, I believe, future assets for Ucluelet down there…I hope that this is the first of many grants coming to our community in the up and coming 24 months. We’re really at the cusp of some serious federal and provincial funding grants that are coming to our area to help shape us for the next 50 years. It’s a fantastic time to be a Ucluetian and, I find, it’s a fantastic time to be the mayor of this community.”
READ MORE: Ucluelet considers Amphitrite Point project