PARRY SOUND - What is the best use for the former CP Station?
The Town of Parry Sound is looking for proposals, for best use of the designated heritage building, formerly known as the Station Gallery.
Before the gallery was dissolved in 2007, the 1 Avenue Road building was leased by a volunteer group. Although dedicated, the group found it too difficult to run and the Station Gallery was dissolved and the bylaw/agreement rescinded.
“Since that time, the town has managed the facility as a VIA passenger waiting room - until recently, when the train times shifted to the middle of the night - and rental space for a variety of uses, such as artists’ groups/artists, quilting guild, yoga, qui gong, squall nights, OPSEU meetings, showers, etc,” said town director of economic development and leisure services Lynn Middaugh in her report to council on June 5.
Currently, the space is rented out anywhere between two and 12 hours a week.
In 2011 total expenses for the CP Station were $15,297.54 and revenues were just $7,134.03, for a net cost to the town of $8,163.51.
In 2012, budgeted expenses for the facility are $17,172.83 and revenues are estimated at $14,000.
“From the 2011 rental experience and what we see for 2012 rentals, the CP Station will result in a net 2012 cost to the town of $8,000 or $9,000,” said town CAO Rob Mens. “Calling for requests for proposals would open the doors to proposals from the community to hopefully mitigate this net cost. Barring success through this route, council will have to decide to continue with the subsidization at current and higher rates or open the doors further to see what the property would be valued (at) through the real estate market.”
“ What I’m looking for is a café or a coffee bar or anything that we can do there that fits the space,” said Saulnier.
“Ultimately it will be for the best use. That’s a bit subjective, in terms of criteria, but we will certainly bring proposals forward,” Middaugh said.
Coun. Dave Williams also agreed with the proposal, but was concerned with what some local organizations would think of the move.
“I just worry that the Chamber of Commerce or the Downtown Business Association or any other organization that represents businesses may value from being consulted or at least made aware of the fact that the town may or may not be looking to operate a business of the nature that was being described,” Williams said.
“The DBA wouldn’t be involved, because it’s not within the boundaries of the Downtown Business Association,” said Coun. Dan McCauley. “And secondly, I don’t think it’s the town that’s looking at starting a business, it’s getting the requests to see if somebody else would be leasing or renting out the building to someone. This is not a venture that the town plans on taking on.”
Council voted in favour of the resolution and is now looking for proposals from interested parties.