Meeting regarding downtown businesses goes well, says councilor Rye

Element Club owner Florio Vassilakakis and West's Department Store owners Basil and Susan McLaren were both on hand at a joint meeting

Perhaps it was the Christmas spirit, but it looks like battling downtown neighbours Florio Vassilakakis and Basil McLaren have agreed to meet to discuss their situation.

Element Club Bar and Grill owner Florio Vassilakakis and West’s Department Store owners Basil and Susan McLaren were all on hand at a joint meeting between the Planning and Development and Public Safety committees at Castlegar City Hall on Dec. 20.

Also at the meeting were mayor Lawrence Chernoff, councilors Kevin Chernoff and Dan Rye, and representatives from the city of Castlegar, RCMP and Liquor Control Board.

At the Dec. 3 council meeting, the McLarens appeared in front of council after receiving a notification from the city that the boarded up windows at West’s Department Store on 3rd avenue would have to be replaced or they would face stiff penalties.

“We had a good discussion held by everybody at the table,” said Rye. “At the end of the meeting, there was an agreement between Florio and Mr. McLaren to have further discussions. Hopefully, they can get back to us so we can make a report to council on Jan. 17.”

Rye says the meeting between the two business owners will strictly be between them.

“Just the fact that everyone is going to sit down and talk is a good thing,” he said. “I thought it was like the NHL talks, at least if they’re talking it’s a good thing. When no one is talking, it’s not good. So, yeah, everyone sat there and voiced their concerns, listened to what everyone had to say. They (Vassilakakis and McLaren) decided that they would carry on the conversation (privately) and hopefully get back to us so we could make a report for the next council meeting (Jan. 17).”