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Village of Burns Lake stirs the room more mill

Three municipal spaces opened up for Expressions Of Interest
Lakes Artisan Cooperative rents the space on 586 Highway 16 location from the Village of Burns Lake,. (Ted Douglas photo/Lakes District News)

The Village of Burns Lake owns some high-profile commercial spaces.

Three locations are part of a call for interest for anyone thinking of leasing downtown floor space.

One of them is 586 Highway 16, the stand-alone building kittycorner from CNC at the intersection of 7th Avenue.

Another is right next door at 540 Highway 16, commonly known as the Heritage Room attached to the visitors centre.

The third is 125 1st Avenue, otherwise known as St. John’s Heritage Church, but specifically only the basement is included in this outreach.

The Village of Burns Lake is not asking for formal bids on these spaces. The ask is more consultative than that, but could lead quickly to a deal, if the idea was a match.

“The choice to put out the EOI (Expression Of Interest) request was in response to request by a number of local businesses / organizations who were unable to find appropriate rental space in the local market,” said Village of Burns Lake chief administrative officer Sheryl Worthing. “These village-owned spaces were chosen based on current or near-term availability.”

No one is being kicked out of their space, nor is there exclusion from the EOI as part of this process. For example, the 586 Highway 16 location is currently home to the Lakes Artisan Cooperative, and that organization is invited to request the space for their continued use, and open communication has gone on between the village and the artisan group. In fact, this process will be helpful in their own planning process, said Beate Marquardt, the cooperative’s liaison with the village.

“We have a lease agreement with the village until the end of 2023 and they consulted with us before they put our Artisan Centre up for grabs,” Marquardt said. “We, the artisans, are now considering a change of location that would provide us with closer proximity to travelling-through visitors and locals alike. We’re awaiting the outcome of the letters of EOI to the Village office. After that, we’ll probably have more information for you.”

Likewise, a different consultation stream has gone on for the past couple of years regarding the best future uses of the old Anglican church, currently under extensive renovations to bring the building - the third-oldest structure in Burns Lake - up to modern construction health. That dialogue is still open, since the EOI pertains only to the basement space.

“These spaces were either not in use, minimally used or potentially available for use in the near future,” said Worthing. “This method allows for a fair, open and transparent process and allows council a means to assess real demand.”

Anyone who might want to occupy any or all of these spaces is asked to village economic development officer Dolores Funk at 250-692-9932. Application packages are available at the village office.

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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