Monday, May 06, 2013 07:43 PM
Prince George, B.C.- Wholesale Sports wants to come to Prince George, and Prince George City Council has thrown out the welcome mat. Council has approved 3rd reading to a zoning amendment to put the gears in motion.
At issue is the site chosen by Wholesale Sports. It wants to set up its operation in the Redwood Square, where the adult store “Shagg” is located.
The plan is to add more space to the Redwood Square in order to accommodate Wholesale Sports. In order to make this happen, Redwood Square will have to be vacant, and that means the adult romance enhancing store “Shagg” would have to move.
So, the operators of Shagg want to move to the Gateway, into the mall at the corner of 20th and Victoria. That change requires a text amendment to the zoning. The zoning required is C6, and that zoning exists at several sites to the west, north and south of the preferred location.
While the application before Council was accompanied by several letters of support, there was opposition expressed by the Gateway Business Improvement Area, and Ava Maria.
Speaking against the application, Ken LeBoe says while there is demand for this kind of store, it doesn’t not belong in the Gateway. He says the Gateway is a business improvement area “and the operative word is improvement and this doesn’t constitute an improvement”. He says the store would have a negative impact on the Gateway area.
Chair of the Gateway BIA, John Enemark, asked, “If we hadn’t stepped up and made the improvements, would this business even be applying to move into the area?” He says adding this business to the Gateway would not enhance the neighbourhood because of the number of school children who would be passing this business every day. “We’re talking about an absentee landlord (of the proposed new location) who is looking to make rent.”
Helen Serazin lives in the neighbourhood where the store would be located. “Anyone with common sense would see this is the wrong location for this type of store.” She said many seniors live in the area and in her mind “maybe grandpa would be interested in this kind of store, but grandma sure isn’t” She said the area has had a lot to deal with and they have worked hard to try and clean up the Victoria/20th area.
Councillor Brian Skakun says with C6 zoning in adjacent properties, Shagg could have set up just meters away if there was a vacancy, but there isn’t and so Shagg needs a text amendment to allow it to open in the space that used to be occupied by a Japanese restaurant.
In speaking in support of the application, councillor Murry Krause says this kind of store attracts people from all walks of life, all social and economic levels “It is not just ‘those people’, this is a legal business and I am going to support the application.”
“To me this is like a checkers game” says Councillor Lyn Hall, “moving the pieces around to gain a real gem for Prince George, and that is Wholesale Sports.”
Wholesale Sports is hoping to be ready to open in early September, in time for hunting season.