The Squash and Billiards Club located on Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Deadline passes for ‘unattractive’ Port Alberni building

Squash and Billiards Club on Third Avenue has been under construction for several years

The owner of Port Alberni’s Squash and Billiards Club on Third Avenue has run out of time to improve the outside of the building.

Port Alberni city council received a petition back in December signed by 33 Alberni Valley residents stating that they find the Squash and Billiards Club on Third Avenue to be “unattractive and offensive to the community.” The building has been undergoing construction for several years.

The owner, Randy Brown, had applied for and been approved for funding under the city’s and Community Futures’ Façade Improvement Program to improve the appearance of the building. He was given a deadline of March 20, but with no improvements taking place, Community Futures has since closed this file.

READ MORE: Squash Club in Port Alberni has until March 2020 to fix façade that has been under construction for years

Brown said back in December that he would be able to meet the March 20 deadline. The Tyvek paper outside the building has been painted black, but otherwise there has been no change.

During a council meeting on Monday, March 30, city clerk Davina Hartwell said that the building is not a high priority for city staff at this time, as it does not pose an immediate risk to safety. The city’s bylaw department is also busy at this time with making sure people are following provincial orders in response to COVID-19.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to put beautification on the backburner right now, but I think it’s for the betterment of our community,” Councillor Helen Poon acknowledged.

However, other councillors disagreed with waiting any longer to impose remedial action on the building.

“I believe he’s had enough time,” said Councillor Cindy Solda. “He had enough time before we all went into isolation. I don’t want to give him [more] time because he’s had many years to get this done.”

Councillor Ron Paulson added that the building is in a priority position because of its location on Third Avenue, which has been identified as a “priority” street by council.

READ MORE: Port Alberni moves closer to Third Avenue beautification project

“It reflects poorly on our community,” he said.

Council agreed to reconvene in two months to discuss the topic again.

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