Plaza clock tower to find a new home in Campbellton

A long-time Campbell River landmark is getting a new home after city council went against a city staff recommendation.

The Tyee Plaza clock tower, a former fixture in the downtown core, will be relocated to Campbellton even though it is taller than what is permitted in the area.

Council approved a variance that will allow the clock tower, which was removed from Tyee Plaza last August, to be put up on Spruce Street near 14th Avenue.

Local businessman Ted Arbour intends to clean up the tower, remove the Tyee Plaza lettering and replace it with the name of his storage business, Econo Ezy Box. He said other than that, the clock tower will remain as is and will still bear the time and the temperature.

Arbour said the tower, expected to be erected at 1231 Spruce St., is an iconic Campbell River structure and will help liven up the Campbellton neighbourhood.

“This clock was a landmark in the Tyee Plaza for over 40 years and deserves to be rejuvenated so that the residents of Campbell River can continue to enjoy seeing it,” Arbour said. “This will be erected at the corner of the lower portion of this property and will enhance the local area without negatively affecting any property owners in the immediate vicinity.”

The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association said it supports Arbour, adding the clock tower will revitalize the area and help customers find the business in an attractive manner.

“A clock tower will create another focal point that is pleasing to the eye. Structures like this will continue to encourage more homes and businesses to enrich their own outdoor spaces. Everyone wins,” wrote Brian Shaw, chair of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, in a letter to council. “Eventually it will be used as a visual reference point (and) it keeps a long-time familiar icon in use in Campbellton.”

Arbour also hosted a public meeting in October and received support from neighbours in the immediate vicinity.

Despite that, at Monday’s city council meeting, city staff’s recommendation to council was to deny Arbour’s application to erect the clock tower at its existing height. Their rationale was that the tower, at 14.3 metres (47 feet), is double the height of what’s allowed on the subject property, which is 7.5 m (26.4 ft).

Matthew Fitzgerald, the city’s planner, said there’s no justifiable reason for the sign to be so tall, even though he agreed that it will have minimal impact on the surrounding neighbourhood and will not block the view of homeowners along the bluff on Tree Lane Road above the Econo Ezy Box site.

“Despite this, there is no clear rationale for why the sign needs to be nearly twice the height the bylaw permits,” Fitzgerald wrote in a report to council. “The sign has been disassembled and there is the opportunity when it is rebuilt to adjust the height to conform to the bylaw.”

Council, though, sided with Arbour and granted the variance which will allow him to put up the tower at its existing height.