KEY INDUSTRIES

Port Alberni's economy and key industries have undergone a transformation over the last half century. Historically reliant on the forestry sector, the city's economic base has become more varied than ever before. It's an exciting time to lead or be part of the growth in new and emerging sectors and to innovate and expand in traditional industries. Ongoing diversification and adaptation is what keeps the community resilient and attractive to new investment.

Find your niche. 

Industry Outlook & Opportunities

 

Agriculture & Aquaculture

The Alberni Valley has over 19,000 acres of land designated for agricultural use and over 30 farms.

Berries, fruit, field and greenhouse grown products all thrive in the optimal climate of cool wet winters and hot dry summers experienced in the valley. The city's location at the terminus of a 48 kilometre saltwater inlet provides abundant seafood opportunities, including commercial and recreational fishing, shellfish and seaweed production. 


The Dock+
The Alberni Valley Food Hub
In 2019 capital contributions from the Port Alberni Port Authority that included an existing dormant former fish processing plant and more than $500,000 cash was leveraged to receive funding from the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Island Coastal Economic Trust to create a regional food processing facility adjacent to Fishermen’s Harbour. The Food Hub, branded as The Dock+  currently has 5 anchor tenants operating in the seafood and foraged food sectors with opportunities for more. Processing equipment and expertise is accessible for producers of agricultural and aquaculture products as well as a commercial kitchen space for food maker entrepreneurs, community groups, cooking classes, etc.

 

Abbatoir Licensing

As of 2020 farmers in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District are able to apply for a Class D Abbatoir License. The BC Ministry of Agriculture has designated 3 such regions in the province.  

 

Soil

"Alberni soils are prime agricultural soils...they are suited to a wide variety of crops. Arrowsmith soils are considered to be the most desirable organic soils for agricultural use as they have favourable tilth and permeability."

Refer to the full report (PDF) from the Ministry of Environment

 

Resources

 

Creative Industries

The Alberni Valley is home to a modest cadre of creative practitioners and is a viable location for further investment in the sector. 'Creative industry' has also been called the 'Cultural Industry' and has a number of definitions but generally refers to any industry requiring creative thinking and expression. It is inclusive of both the fine and applied arts, such as film, music, performing arts, and fashion, as well as publishing, advertising, software, toys and games. Content creators such as artists, filmmakers, designers and music professionals have made significant global impacts and contributions to the province's economy.


Creative BC

Creative BC was established by the provincial government to provide professional expertise and business support to strengthen investment in the following creative industries:

  • Motion picture
  • Interactive and digital media
  • Music and sound recording
  • Book and magazine publishing

The agency offers programs, services and investment support to help the sector realize its economic and creative potential.  

 

Investment Advantages

  • Local availability of highly skilled tradespeople for crews
  • Affordable commercial space for leasing
  • Affordable land for development
  • Multiple locations available for film
    • Catalyst Paper
    • McLean Mill Historic Site & Park
  • Previous success as a film location
    • Insomnia (2002) starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

 

Related Opportunities

There is a need for an accommodation provider not only for the Tourism industry but to enable the City to host film crews, who may require up to 300 rooms. 

 

Creative Assets in Port Alberni

 

Additional Resources

 

Education

The Pacific Rim School District #70 office is located in Port Alberni, the regional center for public, private and post-secondary education.

  • 4% of the labour force between the ages of 25-64 has a post-secondary education majoring in Education
  • 6% of the labour force aged 15+ is employed in the Educational Services industry
  • Over 250 people are employed in district schools with additional staff at privately operated schools and post-secondary institutions

 

Healthcare

Port Alberni is the region's leader in healthcare and related services.

  • 11% of the labour force between the ages of 25-64 has a post-secondary education majoring in Health & Related Fields
  • 14% of the labour force aged 15+ is employed in the Healthcare and Social Assistance Industry 

The Island Health/The Vancouver Island Health Authority operates the West Coast General Hospital (WCGH), one of the region's largest employers.  Hospital services include:

  • Aboriginal Health Diabetes Nurse Educator, Health Dietitians, Liaison Nurses
  • Rehabilitation Services
  • Acquired Brain Injury Program
  • All Nations' Healing Room
  • Bariatric Program
  • Collaborative Spasticity Program
  • Nutrition
  • Convalescent Care
  • Enterostomal Therapy Services
  • Hip and Knee Centre
  • Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy

 

Manufacturing

Port Alberni's natural resources, labour force, businesses and facilities reflect the strength of its manufacturing industry and in turn, the manufacturing industry strengthens related industries such as distribution and service. The largest purchasers of locally-manufactured products are in the logging, fishing and mining sectors.

Wood products manufacturing has been a core industry in Port Alberni since the days of the first sawmill in what is now known as the Harbour Quay. Changes in the industry are occurring and there is a shift towards a wider diversity of products, including more value-added and niche manufacturing.

The city's location in the vast and healthy forests of coastal British Columbia provides a long term supply of quality 2nd and 3rd growth trees including cedar, fir, spruce and hemlock. A highly skilled local workforce is available locally to develop new products.


Wood Manufacturing Industry News & Initiatives

 

Service

Port Alberni is the service center for all communities within the Alberni-Clayoquot region, including:

  • Port Alberni (agglomerate pop. 20,712) including:
    • The rural electoral areas of Sproat Lake, Cherry Creek and Beaver Creek (pop. 6,991), and Beaufort (pop. 443)
    • The communities of Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nation (pop. 555 & 135)
  • Tofino (pop. 1,932)
  • Ucluelet (pop. 1,717)
  • Bamfield (pop. 179)
  • 10 First Nations (Nuu-chah-nulth) communities 

Representing an agglomerate population of 25,112 for the area of Port Alberni and a regional year-round population of 28,940+ residents. Those numbers swell significantly from May to October due to tourist visitation on the west coast. The annual tourist population in Tofino alone numbers an additional 579,600! Tourists require access to many of the same services as residents, albeit on a seasonal basis which runs its peak from June to September.

Port Alberni not only has the largest and most diverse service sector for the region, but the services are all within minutes of the city's main transportation arteries. In the North Port area, services businesses and organizations are located directly on or next door to the highway on the Johnston Road/Highway #4 corridor, and in South Port (Uptown/3rd Avenue/Harbour Quay) they located only 5 minutes away from Highway #4. City residents can access both locations within a 15 minute drive.


Port Alberni: West Coast Service Hub

Port Alberni leads the region in the following service categories:

Markets

  • Large transient/seasonal market
    • Tourists
    • Management contractors and labourers working in the backcountry / work camps in remote areas of the west coast
      • Forestry
      • Fishing
      • Mining
  • Stable resident market (62% Port Alberni residents have remained in the city the last 5 years)
  • Large seniors market (24% population in Port Alberni)
  • Access to lower mainland BC and international markets due to strategic, central location and quality infrastructure
    • Deep sea port at Alberni Inlet
    • Regional airport (under expansion)
    • Close proximity to the 2 most heavily accessed BC Ferries terminal locations between Vancouver Island and Vancouver
    • Connected to the Island Highway#19 via Pacific Rim Highway #4 

 

Technology

Technology investment in Port Alberni is spearheaded by Tech Island, a joint initiative involving 8 communities located in an area known as the Vancouver Island Corridor. The communities are a gateway to markets in Asia and the entire Pacific Northwest (Cascadia) region spanning from California to Alaska, with Port Alberni located at the center.


Investment Advantages

Port Alberni is a viable location to establish a satellite office, back-office operations or company headquarters. Consider the following advantages.

  1. Affordable commercial spaces to own or lease
  2. Affordable land available for development
  3. A cost-effective labour pool
  4. Modern infrastructure
  5. Proximity to other tech-related businesses
  6. Less direct competition in comparison to larger cities
  7. Opportunity to corner a local/regional market
  8. West coast outdoor and waterfront lifestyle and unique quality of life amenities
  9. Tax incentives via the City's Economic Development office
  10. Opportunities to partner with local leaders in the following industries:
    • Agriculture & Aquaculture
    • Manufacturing
    • Transportation
  11. Access to markets via highway #4, the deep sea port and the Alberni Valley Regional Airport, which is currently undergoing expansion.

 

Tourism & Hospitality

The value of the Vancouver Island Tourism Industry is $1.77B Dollars. In Port Alberni tourism is an emerging and growing industry with incredible opportunity for development, particularly as the markets in surrounding communities continue to grow and create a more favourable environment. 

Port Alberni is in a strategic location to capture the existing and substantial tourism market of domestic and international visitors heading to the west coast. The coastal resort communities of Tofino and Ucluelet and Pacific Rim National Park are a major draw, attracting domestic and international visitors who must pass through Port Alberni to reach their destinations. However, Port Alberni is a tourism destination in its own right with a large volume of tourism assets and high potential for product development.


Industry & Market Statistics

Port Alberni Tourism Assets

Tourism Investment Opportunities

Resources

 

Transportation

Port Alberni is the largest commercial center on the west coast, the transportation hub between east and west Vancouver Island, the gateway to the Pacific Rim tourism market and the only deep sea port on western Vancouver Island with direct shipping routes to Asia and the west coast of North America. Suppliers of all goods to the west coast communities including Tofino and Ucluelet by road must transit through Port Alberni first. Further, Port Alberni Terminals houses the only deep sea port within a 1,500 kilometre length of coastline between Port Alberni and northern BC.

For decades, the city has been engaged in resource extraction and processing activities such as forestry, fishing and mining for the west coast, resulting in a robust local supply of transport companies and skilled, experienced labourers bringing goods to local, regional and international markets via Highway #4.

Port Alberni's location and transportation options are two of its greatest assets.

Local Industry Leaders

Introduction

 

Contact Us

Chooseportalberni.ca

Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada

info@chooseportalberni.ca

250-724-1241

1-877-724-1241


Choose Port Alberni.ca

An initiative of
City of Port Alberni 

Website developed & administered by
Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot

Principle photography & videography by
Chaisson Creative