Despite assurances from business owners Basil McLaren, of Wests Department Store and Florio Vassilakakis of the Element Club, that they’d discuss the issue of broken windows at Wests, they have not been able to come to any agreement.
The two met on Dec. 20 in a joint meeting between the City of Castlegar’s Planning and Development and Public Safety committees. Also at the meeting were representatives from the B.C. Liquor Control Board and the RCMP.
“At our council meeting on Monday, we asked Mr. (Phil)Markin (director of development services) to follow up with both the Element and Wests to see if there was any resolution,” said councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, chair of the Planning and Development committee. “At that point we asked him to report back to council on Jan. 21. We’ll have to make a judgement at that time.”
On Dec. 3, McLaren appeared before council after receiving a letter from the city stating he had to fix the broken windows/doors at his property on 3rd Street.
McLaren blamed the vandalism on drunken patrons exiting the Element, and told council he has had to replace his windows 28 times.
In response, Element owner Vassilakakis has stated his staff regularly patrols the area, and also that no other businesses in the area suffer from the same vandalism problems.
“As of now, there is no resolution. I’m suspecting Mr. Markin will bring back to council a recommendation to impose the bylaw, Heaton -Sherstobitoff told the Castlegar News. If there’s no resolution between the two owners, we’ll have to decide whether or not we’ll impose the bylaw on the Wests owner. ”
In an email to Vassilakaki sent on Jan. 1, McLaren asked that the Element contribute a minimum of $5,000 to the downtown improvement fund.
Vassilakakis replied stating by email that he spoke to his partners and they unanimously agreed that what McLaren was asking for was outrageous.
In his email to Markin, Vassilakakis said the club would be willing to revisit the Good Neighbour Agreement, and take extra care in patrolling the neighbourhood.
In Markin’s report to council, under alternatives, he stated, “Should no agreement be reached in having the windows replaced and the exterior of the building upgraded (painting/stucco), staff will have no choice but to proceed with the enforcement of the Property Maintenance Bylaw (1120).”