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Van Isle Ford making plans to expand in Alberni
Van Isle Ford is hoping to move its dealership from Johnston Road to the site of the old Alberni Athletic Hall, on Beaver Creek Road near the intersection with River Road.
"We have made a deal subject to rezoning," Van Isle Ford dealer principal Will Pulford said. "We have intentions to purchase (the land)." The City of Port Alberni currently owns the property.
At 5,500 square feet, the dealership's present site is too small, Pulford said. He committed to Ford when he bought the dealership that he would build a millennium concept facility. It will be approximately 15,000 square feet and double the number of service bays to eight, which would mean more jobs, he added.
Van Isle Ford currently leases its property and it can't be renovated to Ford's millennium standard, Pulford said.
"The only choice we had was to move the facility."
The dealership would remain on the city's tax roll, which has been a concern to some local residents. "We had options outside of the City of Port Alberni (in the regional district). I really, really wanted to stay within the city limits," Pulford said. "I honestly believe as a large business it's important that we stay in the city."
The rezoning application has not yet come before city council. A public hearing will have to be held before councillors vote on the application.
If all goes according to plan, construction would begin in May and the new facility would open a year later, in May 2013.