Sunday, December 12, 2010

Islands Marketplace article: Dec. 10

Setting the Record Straight
By Emily McIvor

There are a few little known (or misunderstood) facts in play about the situation involving Admirals, Windflower Moon, Salt Spring Soapworks, and Acoustic Planet. The first is the question of leases: many people believe that these four stores were offered leases for the new building and simply refused to sign them. This is not the case. All four of the owners of the four small stores wanted a spot in the new building. None of them were given that choice. Of the four, Salt Spring Soapworks is the only one with a lease with time left on it. That's why they are being re-accomodated in an adjacent space after the reconstruction.
Acoustic Planet had a lease which just ran out. They requested a spot in the new building but were denied. Admirals has a lease with a five year 'option to renew' left on it however the paper copy has been lost so it's not much good. (Coincidentally, the landlord's lawyer has lost his copy as well).Admirals has requested a space in the new building and has been denied. Windflower Moon is the only one which did not sign a lease and that was years ago when they were offered a contract that they didn't like and decided not to sign it. They were not offered a spot in the new building.
The other little known part of the story is that all the appropriate permits are not yet in place. Any new development within Ganges is required to obtain a Development Permit. This process has not yet been completed. It has been started but the permit has not been approved so as far as we know, it could be months before anything can happen in that space.
The real problem with the new development is the loss of character and diversity in our downtown core. This is a pedestrian and tourism hot-spot. We need the interest of lots of quaint little shops. Mark's Work Wearhouse is great but they shouldn't be expanding right downtown. We need development in Ganges but it needs to be smart development. Development which makes Salt Spring more itself and which will serve us well into the future. This is not that development.

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