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City exempts eyesore from fees

A notorious town eyesore is slowly becoming more pleasant to look at.

The old Hillcrest Store, on the corner of 9th Avenue and Dogwood Street, will soon be the new home of the Campbell River Head Injury Support Society, which is renovating the entire building.

“It’s an eyesore. You drive by and that corner is abysmal to look it,” said Shelley Howard, executive director of the Head Injury Support Society. “When we purchased the building we noticed afterwards that there was a lot wrong with it. The roofing was done three and a half years ago and we found out it was done by one of those fly by night companies. It leaks and there’s no one to go after. That was a shocker.”

Howard told city council on Tuesday night the society is ready to begin renovations, which will be costly, particularly the tubed fencing that will go up around the property to deter vandals and graffiti artists.

“We have found a fence but it is a little costly, $32,000, because it is metal, but it will definitely improve the look of the corner,” said Howard.

Coun. Ziggy Stewart agreed the corner does not look good.

“Anything we can do with it, is welcome to Campbell River,” said Stewart.

Council made the decision this week to have the non-profit society be exempt from re-zoning and building permit fees.

Howard made a presentation to council explaining that with increasing construction costs the society is finding itself short on funds trying to meet “everyone’s codes, expectations and needs.”

The city estimates the cost of the re-zoning fee to be $2,000 plus a $500 procurement fee. The cost of the building permit will depend on the extent of the construction.

Council will pay for the expenses out of its grant-in-aid reserve.

Howard said the goal is to have construction completed by the end of June. Once finished, there will be four living units on the top floor, with offices on the bottom. Outside a communal garden will provide therapy for the clients and a special area of the garden will be set aside to grow food for the food bank.

Clients can rent out the suites on a scale based on their income. Howard explained some may stay for as short as six months, whereas others could stay up to five or six years, depending on how well they adapt to being in a stable environment.

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