A Port Alberni bylaw officer has been forced to make a public apology for his conduct after he was caught using abusive language in a video posted to social media.
The incident occurred on Dec.29, 2020 as Port Alberni fire Chief Mike Owens and Port Alberni RCMP members shut down an unofficial “shelter” that someone had built inside a commercial building on upper Third Avenue. The building at 2976 Third Ave. is owned by Randy Brown and is known as the former CJAV building for the radio station that once occupied the space decades ago.
Brown also owns the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue and the Rack and Rally squash and billiards club on Third Avenue—both of which have been on council’s radar for remediation. The former CJAV building was issued a “do not occupy” order in 2018 and the building was added to the city’s nuisance properties list.
Brown and the bylaw officer, who the city declined to name, can be seen in the video trading profanity-laced comments outside the building for almost 10 minutes.
“The behavior displayed on the video is not condoned by the city, does not meet the expectations we have for ourselves, and is not reflective of the great work that the bylaw services department and other city personnel regularly do in sometimes difficult circumstances,” Chief Administrative Officer Tim Pley said in a statement issued Wednesday night.
“The conversation captured on video between the bylaw services officer and Mr. Brown demonstrated a familiarity between the two, which in my opinion contributed to the officer straying away from professional demeanor. The bylaw services officer was quick to apologize for his conduct, and I have accepted that apology.”
“I apologize to the city and to my co-workers for my use of inappropriate language while on duty,” the unnamed bylaw officer wrote in a statement. “While communicating with Mr. Brown I used profanity which was inappropriate and does not reflect the professionalism that I strive to bring to my work every day. The manner in which I communicated during those moments did not reflect my compassion for our citizens for whom accessing safe housing is a daily challenge.”
Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions said the city continues to work with BC Housing and Island Health to address the issues of housing, mental health and addiction.