A ‘Stop Work’ order was placed outside of the Kingsway Pub in Port Alberni in April 2020. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A ‘Stop Work’ order was placed outside of the Kingsway Pub in Port Alberni in April 2020. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

LETTER: Port Alberni City Council must do better when citizens bring up concerns

Writer says complaint about building construction wasn’t dealt with seriously

To the Editor,

After observing the appearance of questionable renovation practices taking place at the Kingsway Hotel and Pub, Neil Anderson contacted the city to enquire about the status of permits and inspections for renovations at this property. He was met with a wall of silence.

Becoming frustrated after having made several attempts to get answers from the city in a quiet manner, he approached an outside regulator. After the city learned that an outside regulator was about to sanction the Kingsway for poor work practices, the city finally took action.

For the rest of 2020, the city stonewalled Mr. Anderson’s efforts to get answers. I decided to help him out.

READ: Port Alberni city councillor apologizes for unpermitted renovations

READ: Kingsway Pub in Port Alberni slapped with stop work orders

Since council must have concluded that the topic was not going to go away, on Jan. 25, 2021, building owner and Port Alberni city councillor Helen Poon issued an apology for her conduct at the Kingsway with respect to her not modeling regulatory compliance for her renovations. But it was a false apology. She issued a second apology on Dec. 13, 2021, after the city learned of more renovation irregularities at the Kingsway.

Council stating, “there is only so much we can do because it is a private business matter,” is political spin. Every issue affecting a property in the city begins as a private business, or personal matter. Still, some of those issues will elevate to council’s attention, if so required.

Rather than believing two citizens who are known for not arbitrarily making things up to cause chaos, council instead entrenched themselves into a narrative that Helen Poon told the truth, and that Neil Anderson was a pest for bringing a matter before council that was a private matter. Mr. Anderson was treated poorly. The mayor indicates this won’t happen to other citizens in the future. Let’s hope that is true.

Roland Smith,

Port Alberni

Municipal GovernmentPort Alberni