Tseshaht First Nation - New Somass Hall

New Somass Hall is a proposed 7,400 sq.ft. community hall building will include an open hall, commercial kitchen, washroom facilities, storage space, janitor room, three breakout rooms, three offices, storage space, and a mechanical/electrical room.

To provide an additional measure of resiliency to the community, it has been identified that the proposed New Somass Hall would be constructed to a post-disaster standard, with the ability to provide emergency shelter and supports for community members for two to three days.

New Somass Hall will be designed to meet the British Columbia Building Code 2018, and follow the Ashrae 90.1-2022 for minimum energy requirements. A fully electrified building system, including both heating and kitchen appliances, will be provided to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. The building will be designed with provisions for Solar PV installation.

Construction will include: Foundation cast-in-place concrete foundation walls on spread footings, structure wood framed assemblies, exterior wall cavities filled with insulation, roof assembly, commercial kitchen, mechanical systems, sprinkler system for fire protection, and electrical systems.

Building energy performance, including glazing systems, will comply with ASHRAE 90.1-2022 for climate zone 5.

Geotechnical and archaeological investigations were previously completed.

Two separate environmental studies were completed as part of the Feasibility Study:

  • Environmental Overview Assessment, and
  • Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment.

The Environmental Overview Assessment identified limited anticipated issues to be addressed with the site.  There is limited vegetation on site due to the previously developed nature of the lot.  Although the site is not located immediately adjacent to the Somass River, the site's stormwater drains to a series of off-site culverts and ditches, eventually leading to the Somass River.  Post development stormwater flows from New Somass Hall are expected to be similar to the flows generated by the previous building and site development.  Siltation presents a moderate risk to downstream drainage structures and has been identified for the future construction phase, which can be mitigated by the implementation of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) which will be required by the contractor.

Prior to the demolition of the old Somass Hall building on the same site, a Demolition Hazardous Materials Report was completed.

The site layout and servicing strategy for New Somass Hall will reflect that of the previous Somass Hall, with the building to be  sited in the same location as the previous building and a similar building footprint.  Parking will be present on the north and east  side, with increased landscaping components integrated into the site design. Two access points will be available off Thomas Road,  which will accommodate larger vehicles such as busses, firetrucks, delivery, and garbage trucks.  Provisions will be made for  multiple EV  charging stations, and a fire pit will be included for both cooking and gathering.  The site can accommodate 14 parking  spots, with  an additional 3 EV spots. To maximize available parking, gravel overflow lots will be constructed on both Gallic and  Thomas Road.

Tseshaht has an existing community water system which is supplied by the City of Port Alberni through a Municipal Type Service Agreement (MTSA).

Tseshaht's existing community sewer system is serviced by the City of Port Alberni through a MTSA. 

There is no existing piped stormwater system in the Tseshaht community. Storm flows are instead captured by a series of ditches that  ultimately outlet into the Somass River. There is an existing culvert at the southeast corner of the site, which flows east across  Gallic Road and into the existing ditch system.  Storm flows from the parking lot will be captured by top inlet catch basins and  conveyed via underground piping to the existing culvert, where they will enter the existing ditching system.  The building will be equipped with a perimeter drain and rainwater leaders.



Latest update

Notice of intent to make a determination

New Somass Hall – Public Comments Invited


October 19, 2023 – Indigenous Services Canada must determine whether the proposed New Somass Hall, located in Port Alberni, BC is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. To help inform this determination, Indigenous Services Canada is inviting comments from the public respecting that determination.


Written comments must be submitted by November 19, 2023 to:




Lee-Ann Hamilton, Senior Environmental Specialist
1138 Melville Street, Suite 600
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4S3
Email: Lee-Ann.Hamilton@sac-isc.gc.ca

  • Location

    • Port Alberni (British Columbia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Building and Property Development
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Tseshaht First Nation
  • Authorities

    • Indigenous Services Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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