Inuksuk building is a popular activity with tourists and residents alike when they visit Hole in the Wall on the east side of Port Alberni. (KATYA SLEPIAN/ AV News file photo)

Inuksuk building is a popular activity with tourists and residents alike when they visit Hole in the Wall on the east side of Port Alberni. (KATYA SLEPIAN/ AV News file photo)

Port Alberni’s Hole in the Wall creates safety concerns

Access to the site is through private lands owned by Mosaic Forest Management

The Hole in the Wall has become a popular tourist destination in the Alberni Valley, but its popularity has created some safety concerns about increased traffic and a lack of parking.

Directors with the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) have discussed the issue at multiple board meetings, but have not yet made any decisions about the development of the natural attraction.

Cherry Creek director Dianne Bodnar first brought her concerns to the board in July, asking for the topic to be brought forward to the next Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) meeting.

“The Hole in the Wall is becoming a nightmare,” she said. “It’s being advertised everywhere. It seems like whoever’s advertising this, in the tourist magazines and whatnot, really aren’t doing their homework to see—where are people going to park to see this?”

Hole in the Wall, located off of Highway 4 just outside of the City of Port Alberni, is the remnant of a water line in the form of a large hole through rockface. Because the access to the site is through private lands owned by Mosaic Forest Management, there is no parking. Visitors often park on the shoulder of a curve on Highway 4, or park in the lot across the highway at Coombs Country Candy and dodge cars on foot across three lanes of highway traffic.

Bodnar is also a member of the West Coast Rangers Black Powder Club. The club’s gun range can be accessed through a gated road off Highway 4 owned by Mosaic Forest Management, and Bodnar says parked cars have been blocking the entrance. “No parking” signs have been run over and knocked over.

“There is no room to be parking there, period,” she said. “People from out of town have no idea because their GPS tells them this is where you need to go.”

During a board meeting on Aug. 26, ACRD CAO Doug Holmes explained that the Hole in the Wall is a “tricky” topic because of the overlap between provincial, municipal and private lands.

“It is likely that in addition to addressing the parking concerns, that a specific licence agreement would be needed with Mosaic to cover trail standards and liability issues, like agreements that currently exist for the Alberni Inlet Trail and Lakeshore Trail,” said Holmes in a report to the board.

Last year, the ACRD, the province and Mosaic entered into an agreement to discuss public access to private forest lands, and Holmes said this agreement could be one avenue to discuss the development of Hole in the Wall. The ACRD could also choose to discuss it during its upcoming Strategic Planning session.

However, at this time, the ACRD board has not made the matter a priority. Board directors said on Aug. 26 that more research and a longer-term plan is needed.

City director Debbie Haggard said she would like to see Hole in the Wall eventually transformed into something a little more attractive for tourists, but added that the undertaking is just too large.

“I think the community would like to see the Hole in the Wall developed,” she said. “I’m certainly open to having us explore what exactly would be involved, and what the cost would be and what the process would be. At this time it’s just too big.”

Board chair John Jack said more discussions need to take place before a decision is made.

“I think this is something we’ll return to in the near future,” he added.

Bodnar agreed.

“I don’t think the Hole in the Wall is going to go away,” she said. “It’s been advertised in tourist magazines around the world. I think it’s worth investigating to see what, if anything, we can do about it.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Inuksuk building is a popular activity with tourists and residents alike when they visit Hole in the Wall on the east side of Port Alberni. (KATYA SLEPIAN/ AV News file photo)

Inuksuk building is a popular activity with tourists and residents alike when they visit Hole in the Wall on the east side of Port Alberni. (KATYA SLEPIAN/ AV News file photo)

Just Posted

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members, before descending into a gorge near Nile Creek to rescue an injured woman on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (ASAR Twitter photo)
Arrowsmith SAR crews help rescue hiker who plunged 10 metres onto rocks near Nile Creek

Helicopter with winch system required for technical operation in remote location

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Nanoose Bay man sentenced after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, given six-month sentence after beating pet he was supposed to be caring for

The graph provided by the City of Parksville in a release issued on May 4, depicting a balanced financial budget for 2021. (submitted photo)
City of Parksville announces a balanced budget for 2021

Penalty date for property tax payments extended from July 2 to Oct. 1

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A wild rabbit grazes in Nanaimo, B.C. in this Feb.2, 2018 photo. Rabbit owners in Alberta are being warned about a deadly virus that was identified in a southern Alberta household last month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner
‘Like a flash fire:’ Rabbit owners warned about outbreak of deadly disease in Alberta

The disease is confined to rabbits and cannot spread to humans

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Most Read