Town tries to clear the air

Council wants to avoid any appearance of a food fight at the beach

The Town of Qualicum Beach sent a fact sheet about a beach business to the media this week in the hopes there will be nothing but happy conversations for Beach Days this weekend.

A series of stories and letters to the editor related to the Beach Hut and their owners’ disappointment over the town possibly allowing other food vendors near their operation spurred the town to clear the air, said Mayor Teunis Westbroek.

“What’s happening, at least in some people’s minds, is the folks who own the Beach Hut don’t pay any rent and that’s not true,” said Westbroek, who was asked why the town took this unusual step to release a fact sheet about an arrangement between the town and a business.

“So people don’t look at them (Beach Hut owners) sideways when they order a burger or a coffee,” said the mayor.

What follows is the complete text of the fact sheet sent by the town to The NEWS on Tuesday afternoon:

• The Town of Qualicum Beach has leased the site of the beach concession to a series of businesses since 1990.

• 661849 BC Ltd. (John & Lana Tryon) has been the tenant since February 2003, after purchasing a business that had the lease, including market rent at that time ($4,000 year) to occupy a small concession stand structure that was in need of repair.

• The rent was reduced to $1.00 per year in 2006, following a public development process, including Advisory Planning Commission review, approval by Council and a December 2005 media release explaining the plan to remove the existing structure and construct a new 2,291 sq. ft. structure, with all costs borne by the tenant in exchange for $1.00 rent for a period of time and transfer of ownership of the building to the Town.

• After providing confirmation of construction expenses totaling $124,175, Council approved the low-rent period to be an approximate 12-year period, scheduled to end with the lease on December 31, 2018.  The terms of the lease ($1 per year plus title to the building) were also published in the local paper in 2010.  The Town receives title to the building at the end of 2015.

• The tenant has also been responsible for all utilities and maintenance of the building, and has invested further in improvements, including the 2012 installation of bi-fold doors at a cost of $16,000.

• The tenant considers their total construction costs, an investment that will transfer to the Town, to be equivalent to rent of $12,000 per year during the term.

• The model of a tenant funding construction in lieu of rent for a period of time has been used for other Town facilities, including the Chamber of Commerce office.

• After the Waterfront Planning process, and prior to the end of the lease in 2018, the Town can consider future facility uses, including the option for a public request for proposals.




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