Now that permits are in place and demolition of the former Inn at Westview building owned by Seaboard Hotels is underway, an issue that has plagued multiple generations of City of Powell River council is on its way to being resolved. The issue centred on the cost of the work versus the future value of the land.
At an all-candidates meeting held at Powell River Recreation Complex on October 2, city councillor Jim Palm read an excerpt from a letter Seaboard Hotels agent Jack Barr addressed to mayor Dave Formosa and the previous council. Committee of the whole had received the letter earlier that day.
At the time, estimates for demolishing the building and removing hazardous materials were between $600,000 and $1 million, while an independent appraisal of the land put its value at around $137,000.
When Palm read aloud that Barr was in the process of arranging financing and had requested a demolition permit from city hall, a response including derisive laughter and applause came from some of the more than 400 people in attendance.
Candidate Al Drummond referred to the letter as “pretty coincidental,” which also elicited laughter from some in the audience. Those who were laughing or skeptical then should find comfort in the latest developments.
At the time, former city councillor Russell Brewer referred to the letter as a commitment on paper and city clerk Chris Jackson called the announcement a major step forward for the city.
It is natural for people to be skeptical, but since the committee of the whole and all-candidates meetings on October 2, more steps have been taken, including the biggest of all, the beginning of a remediation process.
With one of the major issues from the last local election on its way to being resolved, the current council can move forward with other important projects for the community, such as affordable housing, economic development and infrastructure improvements.
The four fuel tanks that once stood on Wharf Street near BC Ferries’ Westview Terminal are gone, and the former Inn at Westview will eventually be a hole in the ground. We’re on a roll. What can we have demolished next?