Alberni District Co-op is planning a major renovation of its property on Tebo Avenue and Johnston Road, including the addition of a commercial cardlock fueling station.
Two separate applications went through Port Alberni city council in January. The first application, approved on Jan. 11, was for a renovation of the gas station’s convenience store.
The second application was approved by city council on Jan. 25. This application proposes replacing the existing car wash facility with a four-lane gas station facility, with a canopy.
“These pumps will be unattended and activated by a card for commercial vehicles,” explained development planner Brian McLoughlin during the Jan. 25 council meeting.
At the southern portion of the site, Alberni District Co-op is also proposing to install underground fuel storage tanks, as well as an RV sani-dump station. Directly west of the convenience store, they will install a parking compound for commercial vehicles. This will be screened from neighbours and the highway by fencing.
“It’s expected that there will be an increase in commercial vehicle traffic at these points,” said McLoughlin. “However, we’ve sent a referral to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and they had no objections.”
The extensive renovation will also include some landscaping improvements, said McLoughlin.
Councillor Ron Paulson expressed support for the project and described Alberni District Co-op as “great corporate citizens” in Port Alberni.
Mayor Sharie Minions expressed some concern about the impact to the Esta Villa Motel, located next door to the gas station. The motel was purchased by the Coulson Group of Companies in 2020 and has also been undergoing extensive renovations.
“It’s just a bit of a strange one, in that it’s a gas station next to a hotel,” said Minions.
McLoughlin said that the city has encouraged Co-op to reach out to the owners of the hotel.
“We asked if they would consider some sort of mitigating elements of their design—some kind of barrier to separate that driveway from the entrance to the hotel.” he said. “The applicant is going to follow up with the owner of the hotel if it becomes an issue.”