Development proposed for former Fairway Market site in Port Alberni

Development includes plans for a dollar store but no residential units

Fairway Market in Port Alberni closed in 2017. The space has been vacant since then. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Fairway Market in Port Alberni closed in 2017. The space has been vacant since then. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

A development has been proposed for the former Fairway Market site in Port Alberni, including the addition of a new dollar store.

The applicant, Raymond de Beeld, is applying to renovate the former Fairway Market site, turning it into a large commercial unit and two smaller commercial units. City of Port Alberni development planner Brian McLoughlin told council during a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6 that a Dollarama is planned for the large commercial unit.

De Beeld had to apply to Port Alberni city council for a development variance permit since the amount of parking that exists in the plaza does not meet the city’s current requirements. This is because the lot was created in the 1950s, prior to the city’s parking bylaw.

“It’s a fairly historic property,” McLoughlin said.

De Beeld is applying to reduce the required amount of on-site parking from 274 spaces to 215 spaces.

The Fairway Market property has been empty since the store was closed in 2017. Although de Beeld applied for a development permit back in 2018 to add four storeys of residential housing above the old storefront, those plans fell through.

READ MORE: Apartment idea for Alberni shopping mall gets nod from advisory planning commission

“I’m just thrilled to see something go in there,” said Coun. Dan Washington on Tuesday.

However, Mayor Sharie Minions admitted she was disappointed with the application, saying it was a “poor use” of the space without any residential units built into the application.

“That space has been for lease for years,” she said. “I think it’s been for lease because the world has changed. I don’t think putting in one more big commercial operation is really the best use of that space. I think this is a stopgap.”

The development, she added, means the loss of the space for more potential high-density residential units.

“We have a lot of empty commercial storefronts in our community,” said Minions. “That’s not going to change unless we start seeing higher density.”

However, Coun. Ron Corbeil pointed out that the former Burde Street high school lands are within walking distance, and many of the people who live in those apartments will be using the store.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Corbeil. “You can’t wait forever for something to go in there.”

Council voted to issue the development permit and development variance permit, although both Minions and Coun. Helen Poon voted against the motion.

The city sent out 302 notices to nearby residences about the plans for the area and received two responses. One person expressed opposition to the change in required parking spaces, while one person was supportive.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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The proposed development at the former Fairway Market site on 10th Avenue. (SCREENSHOT)

The proposed development at the former Fairway Market site on 10th Avenue. (SCREENSHOT)

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