Three years ago this month, a towering icon of the downtown core of Campbell River came down and was hauled away on the back of a truck.
The clocktower at Tyee Plaza was a fixture of the community for around a half century, and local businessman Ted Arbour says he’s about to put it back up.
Arbour first applied to the city for a variance permit to allow the tower to be resurrected at Econo Ezy Box Storage at 1231 Spruce Street in Campbellton back in early 2017. Despite the recommendation of city staff at the time not to allow the variance, as the tower was almost twice as tall as what is allowed in the bylaws, council gave Arbour the go-ahead to put it up.
But when he went to do it this summer, he was told that his variance had expired, and he would need to reapply. Variances are only valid for two years unless work on the project has been “substantially completed,” according to city policy, of which Arbour was unaware.
But at this week’s council meeting, the variance was approved once again, and Arbour can now install his tower.
He’s looking forward to seeing it finally happen.
“We kind of had to rebuild the entire thing to get rid of the rust and whatnot, and made a lot of improvements, but it’s still, in essence, the same clock that was up in Tyee Plaza when I got here in the 60s,” Arbour says. “It’s going to be good to see it go back up. It’s got some nostalgia for the town and I think it’ll look good in Campbellton.”
The clocktower won’t say “Tyee Plaza” on it anymore – it’ll say Econo Ezy Box Storage – but other than that, it’ll be just like old times for the tower, with one other slight adjustment.
“It’ll still tell the time and the temperature and everything, but only on three sides,” Arbour says. “We made the side that will face the hill not light up, because we didn’t want it impacting on the neighbours up there, but the other three sides are fully operational and it still has the same fish on it and everything.”
Arbour says the installation will happen “sometime over the next couple of months,” and there’s sure to be some kind of celebration planned once it’s in place, he’s just not sure what that will look like yet.
“It’s a little more significant than just another sign going up,” he says, “so we’ll do something to celebrate with the community.”