Re: Letter to the editor “An alternate idea for the Extra Foods site” (May 24, 2013).
The Kootenay Co-op never expected to be taking on the role of developer in the mixed-use project of Nelson Commons. When we took possession of the old Extra Foods property, it was our expectation that we would renovate and move in. As we began to further investigate the condition of the building and the options the site presented, we realized that we had an extraordinary opportunity to turn the site into something amazing for the co-op and our community.
The building has been inadequately maintained and is very energy inefficient. It needs a new roof, new plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. These renovations would be costly and we would still have a 50-year-old cinder block building.
The City of Nelson’s Sustainable Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan encourages vacant sites within the downtown core to be developed into mixed-use with retail at street level and residential above. In addition they call for developments that will “create strong civic spaces that are focal points for neighbourhoods;” this is our vision of the Nelson Commons development.
The profit realized from a project like this would normally be funneled out of Nelson by the out-of-town developer. With the co-op as developer, the success of the Nelson Commons mixed-use development will serve to reduce our long-term debt load; the costs will be shared between the commercial and residential owners. It is also important to recognize that the co-op is committed to a financial, social and environmental bottom line and has the wellbeing of the whole community in mind, not common in the world of property development!
This project presents a great challenge and an incredible opportunity for our community and for our co-op. We are both daunted and inspired by the task at hand. We will continue to gather input from our community as we move through this development process.
Additional information can be found in the Kootenay Co-op newsletter “On The Table” and on our website nelsoncommons.ca. Questions or concerns can be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deirdrie Lang, Co-op general manager
Russell Precious, Project manager