The aging clock tower at Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay needs to be repaired, but the project may cost more than expected.
City council has already budgeted $100,000 to refurbish the aging clock tower at Harbour Quay, which includes the addition of artwork by Tseshaht artist Willard Gallic Jr. The artwork, which is already finished and ready to hang up, recognizes the site of the Tseshaht village Tlukwatku-is and celebrates the wolf dance ritual that took place every year.
City staff tendered the project in 2019, but the tender they received was “well beyond” the projected budget, explained city CAO Tim Pley during a council meeting on Monday, March 9. The clock tower, built in 1984, contains lead paint that needs to be safely removed. The total cost of the refurbishment would be around $305,000.
Pley added that the clock tower is suffering from the effects of age and weather. Some of the wood components are rotted and need to be replaced, while the mesh fencing along the guard rails is rusting due to rain. The repairs cannot be put off forever, said Pley.
“The tower is not a danger to the public in its current condition, but as it continues to deteriorate, it may not be safe to have an unlimited number of people climbing it,” he said. “If we don’t take steps now, we’ll have to monitor year to year.”
The city’s 2020-2024 draft financial plan includes a further $150,000 coming from the parks and recreation infrastructure fund, but even this isn’t enough to get the city to the projected cost.
Council agreed on Monday to keep the $150,000 in this year’s budget, but also directed staff to seek grant funding and explore other options to bring down the cost.
“Every year you put it off…it just deteriorates,” said Councillor Ron Paulson. “I think it’s incumbent to have something timely done. I would hope that we can do some work this year.”