Historic Arrowview hotel in Port Alberni given two-week reprieve in hopes of a buyer

WatchPort Alberni city council hopes someone will buy dilapidated hotel so taxpayers won't have to foot the cost of demolition

After 90 years, time is running out for Port Alberni’s Arrowview hotel.

In its hey-day, the hotel housed a dance floor and hosted countless loggers and fishermen. But it has sat vacant for years and suffered a fire in 2015 so the city has now deemed it unsafe. It’s now set for demolition.

“We’ve been working with the last two owners to get the building either fixed up and approved to a level that we accept as safe or taken down. We haven’t made progress with the owner so we’re at a point where we need to take it down,” said Sharie Minions, Port Alberni’s mayor.

The city expects the total cost to remediate the site is $600,000, a bill it would rather not pay.

So this week, Port Alberni city council delayed awarding a contract for the hotel’s demolition for two weeks.

“Because the building is for sale, council wanted to give a two-week period to see if somebody else wants to come in and buy the building and take it down themselves. We’ve had success with that in the past,” said Minions.

The property and hotel are listed at $140,000 and the real estate agent says there’s some potential for the right buyer.

“I love the old heritage buildings so it really touched my heart when I went inside and I’d love to see it restored,” said Andrea Knoll, the listing agent with RE/MAX Mid-Island Realty.

“On the other side though if somebody wanted to demolish it and keep the lumber for salvage. There’s definitely a lot of valuable lumber there are old door casings, radiator heaters, stuff like that.”

And Knoll says there would be impressive water views if the new owner built a multi-level building on the property.

A local historian and author about the Island’s old hotels says, unfortunately, the Arrowview would likely cost much more to restore than it would to tear it down.

“I’m a big fan of saving hotels or saving historic buildings but I’ve lived in Port Alberni and I’ve seen it fall apart over the years and I’m just wondering if it is beyond hope,” said Glen Mofford, who’s book “Along the E&N: A Journey Back to the Historic Hotels of Vancouver Island” is currently on the BC best sellers list.

Port Alberni’s mayor says it’s improving its bylaws so buildings don’t reach this point where taxpayers are left paying the bill for their demolition.

The deadline is fast approaching to potentially save this piece of history.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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