A Port Alberni hotel has been forced to close after a hit and run caused “extensive” damage to the front of the building.
On the evening of Dec. 28, a Budget truck hit the covered entrance of the Blue Marlin Inn before fleeing the scene. A witness at the scene was taking pictures of the Blue Marlin’s Christmas tree and grabbed a photo of the truck before it left, although the licence plate is not legible.
Contractor Tim Sherwood, who takes care of construction work for the Blue Marlin, explained that the damages to the hotel will amount to around $100,000.
“It’s pretty bad,” he said. “Unless they find the driver, it’s going to be out of [the owner’s] pocket.”
He said that he has spoken to the local Budget agency in town, but the truck was not a local one.
According to Port Alberni RCMP Cpl. Jason Racz, the incident is still under investigation. He said the RCMP has reviewed CCTV footage and photos and is “following up,” but the identity of the driver has not yet been determined.
“There was significant damage to an awning, and there was debris spread across the parking lot,” said Racz. “So it’s likely that it was not unnoticed by the driver.”
Due to the damage, the hotel was forced to close its doors to visitors. The pub—which has a separate entrance on the other side of the building—has remained open.
“There was a lot of damage,” said Sherwood, speaking on behalf of Blue Marlin owner Melody Magaton. “We don’t know where to go from here. We just want to get this thing repaired and get the doors opened.”