This photo of the Harbourview Apartments on Third Avenue was taken on Dec. 28. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

This photo of the Harbourview Apartments on Third Avenue was taken on Dec. 28. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Remediation work keeps Harbourview Apartments safe—for now

City of Port Alberni will keep pressure on owner to comply with order

The city will continue to monitor remediation activity at Harbourview Apartments on Third Avenue.

Back in September, the building was slapped with a remediation order, but property owner Martin Chambers was given an extension in October. After Chambers failed to meet this new deadline, council agreed in November to discuss next steps in camera.

However, on Dec. 9, city staff visited the site and community safety manager Gaylene Thorogood said there had been some improvements over the past two weeks.

“While a few items are still outstanding, the property owners and managers continue to make improvements in bringing the property into compliance without displacing current tenants,” said Thorogood during a council meeting on Dec. 14.

City staff recommended refraining from “additional enforcement measures” as long as improvements continue to be made. Thorogood said a “more thorough inspection” is planned for the property in the coming weeks, and council will revisit the matter in January.

“There’s absolutely some improvements that have been made,” acknowledged Mayor Sharie Minions. “But we’ve seen this happen before and we’ve seen these similar improvements happen before and we’ve ended up right back in the same spot. I think we want to ensure that the pressure stays on.”

Council also discussed another property of concern on Dec. 14, with the “Rack and Rally” squash and billiards club. The Third Avenue building has been undergoing construction for several years. The owner, Randy Brown, was given a deadline to fix up his property back in March of this year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, council agreed to put the property “on the backburner.”

Since this time, scaffolding has been put up outside the building, but the property owner has not been able to acquire the necessary permits for renovations due to a few “outstanding requirements,” according to a report from city staff.

On Dec. 14, council agreed to bring the topic back to its next meeting.

“I think we need to move forward on this,” said Councillor Cindy Solda. “It’s been how many years, and how long is it going to take?”

“We’ve given significant chances here to have the facade finished,” agreed Minions. “That scaffolding has been taking up city sidewalk for many more months than it should have been, even with COVID. At some point, enough is enough.”

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