Developer Paul Saroya did what Port Alberni city council asked and now he’s got what he asked city council for.
Councillors voted to give Saroya a one-year extension on his development permit for the Beaufort Hotel.
Saroya originally asked council for the extension on Jan. 9 so he could organize financing for the project. But council tabled the request pending Saroya’s tearing down the burned out building he owns across the street.
Saroya has since torn down the building, but council was tepid about granting him the full one-year extension.
Coun. Cindy Solda and Wendy Kerr advocated for a six-month extension instead with a followup at the end of the period. “Six months is not a hardship on him, it’s not going to cost him anything to come back in six months.”
Other projects have been presented to the city that promised paradise and delivered the opposite. “I’ve learned the hard way — blueprints aren’t always what they seem to be,” Solda said.
Couns. Hira Chopra, Rob Cole and Dan Washington agreed that Saroya lived up to his end of the bargain in tearing down the burned out building, therefore council should honour their end of it and grant the extension.
“It’s business, it’s hard to find money out there these days,” Chopra said. “We want to give those people a chance to find financing.”
City manager Ken Watson interjected that the motion calls for granting a one-year extension. Trying to change it to six months would not constitute a friendly amendment, he said.
“There’s other properties in town that are in worse condition than the Beaufort,” Coun. Jack McLeman said.