Port Alberni fire crews battle a blaze at the restaurant portion of the old Tidebrook Motel on Gertrude Street in November 2012. The city has ordered the burned-out shell of the building to be demolished.

City gets tough with derelict properties

Demolition extensions denied to owners of two burned out properties in Port Alberni.

Port Alberni council unanimously rejected appeals to spare the demolition of two fire-damaged buildings, including the former Tidebrook Motel.

The Tidebrook Motel at 4356 Gertrude St., across from the Roger Creek water park, was destroyed by a fire on Jan. 13, 2012. A second fire on Nov. 3, 2012 caused extensive damage to a former restaurant on the same property. In February this year, a letter was sent to Alberta-based owner Jack Purdy to either bring the structure up to code or have it torn down by the end of March. In April, council rejected an extension request to the end of May.

City councillor Cindy Solda vocally supported this and passing the bill to the owners of other derelict buildings. She is fed up with owners who don’t comply with city bylaws.

“Promises were made before but they are empty promises,” Solda said. “How are we going to encourage new development in the community when some people don’t take pride in it.”

Solda said a number of local businesses and property owners have made efforts in fixing up their property over the years. Strictly enforcing bylaws on nuisance properties makes the community more liveable and encourages others to do the same.

“It’s a domino effect,” Solda added.

City manager Ken Watson estimated the demolition to be around $20,000 which will be billed to the property owner. If the property is sold, that bill would be transferred to the new owner.

In a report presented to city council Monday, the building inspector called the remaining charred structure of the Tidebrook a hazard, adding that it is dilapidated and offensive to the community. He noted that the roof, windows and doors were destroyed, extensive water and mould damage exists and the damage exceeds 75 per cent of its value. The property has also had a history of maintenance issues since 2008.

The second property that will face the city’s wrecking ball is a house at 5165 Golden St. That house was severely damaged in a fire on Nov. 2, 2010. The owner is deceased and the acreage property has been put on and off the market by the estate’s executor, most recently for $145,000.

The two property owners can appeal city council’s decision again, but Solda is confident that the structures on both properties will be demolished.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com