The federal government won’t reveal how much it expects to spend moving Nelson’s Service Canada office from the lower levels of Kutenai Place to the Chahko Mika Mall, nor how much it will pay in rent at the new location.
Public Works and Government Services Canada says the lease with the mall is for 10 years, effective November 1.
However, senior communications advisor Derek Wolff wrote in an email that as Service Canada will “likely be seeking bids from the marketplace, it would not be fiscally prudent for us to disclose the estimated cost of the move.”
Wolff added they could release financial details of the lease with the landlord’s consent, but in this instance the mall’s owner has asked that those figures be kept confidential.
He did say the monthly rent will be about five per cent more than is being paid to the provincial government under the current lease, which expires this fall.
“The rent paid offers the best value for the Crown as the result of a competitive process,” Wolff said. “[We] were not able to renew the lease at the current premises because the existing landlord could not meet certain requirements of ours; however, had we been able to do so, we anticipated that the renewal rates would have increased as well.”
Exactly what those requirements are wasn’t outlined, although it’s understood the government was seeking space on a single level and wants all Service Canada outlets to have a similar appearance.
Wolff says at 8,500 square feet, the new space is “slightly smaller” than the current one at 333 Victoria Street.
“Service Canada has excess space at their current location and is therefore able to improve its space efficiency with a smaller footprint at the mall location,” he wrote.
The province, meanwhile, has not begun looking for a new tenant for Kutenai Place — mainly because they haven’t officially been notified of the move.
Ministry of Labour spokesman David Greer said last week that although the province knew the centre was looking at a new location, they were unaware a final decision had been made.
Service Canada handles a wide range of programs, including employment services and passport applications.
The move to the mall has displaced three stores — Please Mum, Northern Reflections, and Bentley Leather. Only the latter will reopen in a new location.
Northern Reflections says it couldn’t afford the cost of moving, so decided to close, while Please Mum would have shut down anyway, a victim of company-wide restructuring.