Workers tear down the outside of the Arrowview Hotel in March of 2017. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Vancouver engineer plans to rebuild derelict hotel in Port Alberni

Arrowview Hotel has been abandoned following a 2015 fire

The historic Arrowview Hotel has been a city eyesore for many years, but its new owner has plans to restore it.

Ray Letourneau was in Port Alberni council chambers on Tuesday, Oct. 10 to present his plans as the new owner of the Arrowview Hotel.

Letourneau, from Vancouver, is an engineer working in technology, who has spent the last six years developing career opportunities for companies like Cisco and Apple. He has developed a model that he calls a “small community economic strategy” and has been looking at various communities in British Columbia to employ this model.

Letourneau learned about the Arrowview property through the Community Charter process city council was undertaking.

The building has been abandoned for several years and in a state of disrepair. The city entered into a land exchange agreement with hotel owner Dean Johnson in March of this year, but the agreement was contingent upon full environmental abatement and demolition of the building to the city’s satisfaction. When the city determined demolition had halted in May, council decided to proceed under the Community Charter to declare the building a hazard and a nuisance and acquire the property themselves.

READ: Author Glen A. Mofford profiles the history of the Arrowview Hotel

“I’ve been looking at Port Alberni as a place I’d maybe like to use,” said Letourneau. “When I [saw] that property, I looked at where its location was in the city, I looked at the strategy of the city and so forth. I see myself as using this property as the core of the model.”

Essentially, Letourneau wants to restore the former Arrowview Hotel and create his business within it, with a conference space, offices and residences.

His purchase of the property from Johnson hasn’t been finalized yet, but it should be completed by this week, he said.

He confirmed that he has been in discussion with engineers and contractors to determine what needs to be done to improve both the structure and the image of the building.

“First and foremost is to move forward as soon as possible,” said Letourneau. “You’re looking at it as an eyesore. I feel that’s the most contentious issue.”

Councillor Chris Alemany said he was excited by Letourneau’s plan. “We were expecting to have to pull the building down,” he said. “Without a huge amount of detail, it’s hard to know what to expect, but I think this could be exactly the type of thing we’d like to see in terms of the redevelopment of a major city block.”

He did add that there are a number of concerns around the building, and wondered out loud if the building is “too far gone.”

Councillor Ron Paulson was also concerned about the safety of the building to pedestrians and local traffic. “That would make me feel better, if I knew that building had integrity,” he said.

Letourneau confirmed that the integrity of the structure is strong enough for people to work in.

Remedial action against the owner of the Arrowview Hotel—whoever that may be—is still marked as a “high priority” item on the city’s current status report, but director of development services Scott Smith confirmed that remedial action does include fixing the building. This will continue to be an item on the status report, even if the building changes owners.

Letourneau said he is ready to proceed with the restoration as soon as possible, but just wanted a green light from council.

“I believe my model requires participation,” said Letourneau. “There’s no point for me to be pushing an agenda when it’s not really the agenda of the city.”

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

San Group wants to expand forest holdings in Alberni Valley

Mill owners announce new shifts, commitment to keeping logs, jobs on Island

Alberni Salvation Army’s kettle campaign in dire need of volunteers

Campaign is only at 30 percent of its total in major fundraiser

BCHL: Grizzlies claw back to beat Bulldogs

Alberni Valley Bulldogs lose despite an early lead

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Missing Alberta man could be headed to Victoria

Police in Alberta say Vernon “Allan” Pickard has not been heard from since late November

Most Read