Port Alberni city council has granted a 30-day extension to the owner of the Harbourview Apartments after the building was slapped with a remediation order last month.
The owner, Martin Chambers of Folded Hills Farms, attended a virtual council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13 after he made a request for council to reconsider the order.
“Given the ongoing infractions, calls for service and impacts to public health and safety, staff are recommending that council confirm its remedial action requirement,” said manager of community safety Gaylene Thorogood on Tuesday. She also recommended that council give the property owner a 30-day extension to address remediation requirements.
Chambers claimed on Tuesday that most of the damage to the building has been done by one person, who does not live in the apartments.
“Practically speaking, it is impossible to do the work that needs to be done,” Chambers said. “Every time we do anything, within a matter of two or three days it all gets wrecked.”
Chambers explained that he is planning to put armoured cameras around the property, but the delivery of the equipment has been delayed by COVID-19.
Heather, the property manager of the Harbourview Apartments, said that these cameras are necessary to improve the building.
“Until we get the cameras, there’s nothing we can do,” she said. “We have not been able to get ahead at all.”
Mayor Sharie Minions said she was “reluctant” to grant the 30-day extension.
“In the 30 days since we made this order, the garbage outside hasn’t even been cleaned up,” she said. “I’ve been very disappointed every day I drive past the Harbourview Apartments to see nothing done.”
She pointed out that the Port Pub, which was also given a remediation order on the same day, has already seen “significant” improvements.
Councillor Ron Paulson was also reluctant, as this is the second time in two years that the building has come before council.
“If at the end of the 30 days there’s non-compliance, I think we need to move to the next steps,” said Paulson.
Council agreed on Tuesday to grant a 30-day extension to Folded Hills Farms, but made it clear that the city will be taking over if the work hasn’t been done after those 30 days. The motion was approved in a 4-2 vote, with Councillors Cindy Solda and Debbie Haggard voting against it.
“This building has been a blight on our downtown core for years,” Haggard said to Chambers on Tuesday. “I think you’re just making a lot of excuses.”