The millstones that have stood on the Catalyst Paper grounds for more than 50 years were moved to their final home, Monday morning.
The 400-metre trip took a flat deck, crane crew and some ingenuity to free the 17-tonne millstones from their last mooring. Their new resting place is a low, circular base on a corner of city-owned land just beside the Catalyst helicopter pad on the Somass River.
The millstones were originally made in Scotland and shipped to the Alberni Valley for use in the first paper mill, which was located at Paper Mill Dam in 1892.
Catalyst donated the millstones to the city in 2014, Watson said.
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“This is just the beginning,” said Watson, the city’s major projects advisor, as he oversaw the placement of the stones on Monday.
The plan is to bring the former focal point sign that used to sit on the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce’s property and install it along one side of the property. Interpretive signage will be installed along the opposite side, next to Victoria Quay road.
“There’s going to be benches, picnic tables and such, and some parking. It will be a place you can sit and look at the river. There’s a most spectacular view of Mt. Klitsa right down the Somass River from here.”
There will be a cantilevered observation deck built out over some riprap that will be brought in to stabilize the shore.
“I think you’ll see it coming together by the end of the year. It might not be completely finished until the middle of 2017.”
The city has owned this piece of land for more than 30 years; it is popular with people wanting to watch activity on the river. Watson anticipates the park being a popular spot.
“People have articulated we haven’t had enough access to the waterfront or view places to the waterfront,” Watson said. “You can come to the water and watch people fishing. It’s still access to the waterfront even though you can’t put your toes in the water.”