The owner of the Rack and Rally squash club on Third Avenue says he will finally complete the building’s facade improvements after many delays.
City council approved a development permit for improvements to the building during a council meeting on Monday, June 14.
The Rack and Rally is owned by Randy Brown, who owns a number of properties of concern in Port Alberni. The outside of the building has been under construction for years. Scaffolding has been put up and taken down and Tyvek paper has been painted and changed, but the building remains unfinished.
Brown had previously applied for funding under the city’s and Community Futures’ Facade Improvement Program to improve the appearance of the building, but was unable to complete improvements by the deadline.
City council discussed the building back in April 2020, but determined that the building was not a “high priority” at the time as it does not pose an immediate risk to safety.
Development planner Brian McLoughlin told council on Monday that the proposal—submitted by McGill Engineering—is for a “new, very modern” facade for the building, with new siding and windows.
“These really simple design elements will have a positive effect on the immediate neighbourhood,” McLoughlin said.
Members of council expressed concern about how long the construction is taking.
“This last renovation has been going on far too long, way before the last election,” said councillor Cindy Solda. “If this is going to take a year, two years—I have problems with that. It’s not fair to the businesses around that area.”
Director of development services Scott Smith assured city council that city staff “will be keeping an eye” on the development.
“Clearly this is something of paramount interest to the city—to see the Uptown district improve,” said Smith. “We won’t just ignore it if work doesn’t continue.”