LETTER: Time to refurbish building?

People love the idea of the store expansion. The Co-op is one of the icons of our little town and it’s wonderful to see it grow.

Today I was going through some receipts and found one, as usual, from the Kootenay Co-op.

Just under the address it says “Member owned since 1975” and I think, “Hey! Cool! That includes me!”

I’m proud of our flourishing Co-op but I, like others (The letter The Time May Not Be Right, July 30) am starting to wonder if maybe the Co-op is trying to be a little too grandiose at this stage in the game, and is the Nelson Commons really what the majority or the member-owners want?

Yes, the Nelson Commons is a fantastic idea but I agree with letter writer Anthony Arnold that maybe, just maybe, the time isn’t right. We have been hearing about these residential units coming in for years now, however the construction and occupancy dates keep getting moved back. (Even now the occupancy date, according to the Commons website, is for March 2016.)

Will that get moved back, yet again? I too wonder what the advertising and PR costs are sitting at when steps could have started years ago to begin the overhaul of the new store space. (Overhaul, not demolish.)

The opportunity to refurbish the building that’s already bought and get the store itself moved, could be well under way.

Mr. Arnold spoke to the heart of the matter in saying the words that are on the minds of so many of us — “The real commons, the one all members share in, is our market and the food procurement and distribution system that makes it work. In this we all have a stake, and we must not allow anything to jeopardize what we have worked so diligently to create.”

That’s exactly it!

People I’ve talked to love the idea of the store expansion. The Co-op is one of the icons of our little town and it’s wonderful to see it grow!

However, another set of high priced residences makes me shake my head. In a town where so many of the day-to-day population struggle to find affordable housing why is the Co-op stepping away from something like co-op (and thus, community supportive) housing?

This summer alone, we have seen various articles in the paper about homelessness and many people, even here in our hometown, not having the money to pay for shelter. People are being forced to move on from places like the Railtown settlement with no options as to where to go from there.

I have always wondered why the Co-op hasn’t gotten involved with co-op housing. Doesn’t it seem a natural fit?

Most people I know cannot afford to live in the Commons, which goes against everything I consider the co-op to stand for. I find it hypocritical that one of the largest home-grown businesses here in our small, close-knit community is now striving for something elitist and completely unattainable for the majority of people that helped build the store up into what it is today.

I find it hard to believe that the majority of co-op member-owners are in favour of  the Commons going ahead.

I guess I stand in the minority when I say that I am not in favour of the Nelson Commons.


Leannah Fidler


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