Co-op explains its strategies

Retail operator responds to letters criticizing decision to move store to Tsartlip

For the past 20 years, it has been a long-term goal of Peninsula Co-op to expand and relocate our present food store outside of the Keating industrial area and into an area within Central Saanich that is more suitable for successful retailing, while also meeting the increasing food purchasing requirements of our members.

In the early 1990’s, Peninsula Co-op purchased six acres adjacent to our gas bar at the intersection of Keating X Road and West Saanich Road.  However, the subsequent application to rezone this property for that purpose was defeated by just one vote.

As this location was ideal for our future new food market, Co-op made the decision to hold the property for a future rezoning application when the need for it became critical. By 2009 this had occurred. A rezoning application was initiated in the fall of 2010 and the required bylaws successfully received third reading.  However, a slim majority of council voted to submit a request to the Capital Region District to amend the Regional Growth Strategy prior to proceeding with the fourth and final reading of the rezoning bylaws.

The CRD directors declined to amend the Regional Growth Strategy plan.

The Co-op was left with limited, if any, satisfactory options that would enable it to remain in Central Saanich.

Substantial changes have taken place in the competitive retail food industry, which demanded immediate action. In an effort to remain in the community of Central Saanich, the board made the decision to explore other options which could be considered in the event the rezoning application failed.

In a short period of time, one viable opportunity had been presented to the Co-op and we entered into an interim agreement with the Tsartlip First Nation in July 2011 to lease 5.6 acres of reserve land located on Stelly’s X Road between Gowdy Road and the western boundary of the Saanich Fairgrounds.

We strongly feel that this opportunity not only allows us to successfully achieve our vision for the future, but ensures that we keep the current 100 employees at the present food store and administration offices, employed in Central Saanich.

The new expanded food market also presents us with the opportunity to create up to an additional 50 new jobs in Central Saanich, while also ensuring that our members have a greater opportunity to purchase locally. The profits from these purchases will be returned locally through our annual patronage allocation to members.

As we proceed through the planning and construction stages, Peninsula Co-op will host a series of open houses for members and the general public to ask questions and provide feedback. Further communication will be provided on the first of these open houses.

Ron Gaudet, president, board of directors,

Peninsula Co-op

 

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