Demolition of the derelict Arrowview Hotel in Port Alberni has been delayed again, this time at the request of the property owner.
Ray Letourneau purchased the building in 2017, with plans to fully restore the hotel. But in early 2018 he missed a deadline to provide details on his planned remediation of the building, so Port Alberni City Council voted to proceed under the Community Charter to have the building demolished. Letourneau’s request for an extension was denied.
The city has already stalled once on demolition after learning that the cost could exceed $600,000 due to asbestos removal and engineering of the adjoining city sidewalks and streets. But with no buyers stepping forward for the derelict hotel, council voted in July to accept the lowest of three bids for partial demolition of the building by local contractor Bowerman Excavating for $457,000.
However, during a city council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3, Letourneau requested another extension in order to move forward with his project. Although he was not able to attend the meeting in person due to a family illness, he provided a letter with an outline of the work that will take place over the next few weeks, and promised to provide council with an update in 30 days.
“…my interest lies in this building being saved and thus I am willing to try to make an effort if the city will provide what was asked so long ago—a clear legal path with no strings or financial barriers attached,” he wrote.
Port Alberni city council, facing the more than $450,000 price tag at taxpayers’ expense, agreed to give Letourneau 90 days.
Although she said she would prefer to see the building taken down “yesterday,” Councillor Cindy Solda agreed with granting Letourneau the extra time.
“I personally don’t want to see the taxpayers on the hook to pay the dollars that are going to be required,” she said.
Mayor Sharie Minions said that this extra time is a “last resort” to avoid paying the large price tag.
“It is frustrating that we are in a position to be talking about spending $450,000 of taxpayer money…to take down a building that we don’t own,” she said. “We need to hold our community to a higher standard and make sure, going forward, that things like this don’t happen so we don’t get to this point.”
Letourneau will have to apply for and obtain all city permits that are required to demolish the building within 31 days. He will also be reqired to demolish the building and remove all demolition debris within 90 days. If he fails to comply, city staff and contractors will be able to take on demolition.
The Arrowview Hotel is currently listed for sale at $129,900, so it is still possible for the building to be sold and then demolished by its new owner.