Chemainus Village Square mall on the drawing board

Developers are hopeful the long-dormant Chemainus mall project opposite the public safety building will be open for business in 2013. - courtesy Ian Spurling
Developers are hopeful the long-dormant Chemainus mall project opposite the public safety building will be open for business in 2013.
— image credit: courtesy Ian Spurling

Mural Town’s biggest mall — complete with a grocery store — is slated to open in summer 2013 beside Chemainus’ fire hall, developer Ian Spurling says.

Chemainus Village Square offers a new 49th Parallel grocery store, plus a pharmacy, financial institution, and a private liquor store, the islander said of the $10-million project helmed by himself and Len Wansborough.

“We’re just finalizing things now,” Spurling told the News Leader Pictorial of the commercially zoned property.

He declined to name the bank and chain stores involved yet, but noted the 49th food store will measure about 21,000 square feet.

But opening that new store may not mean the end of the 49th's landmark Old-Town outlet beside Chemainus' ferry terminal.

"That's something that has to be flushed out," spokesman Peter Richmond said.

"I don't think we'll close it entirely - it's a good location to service the ferry and the local neighbourhood."

Spurling was stoked by his five-building, retail-office project totalling some 56,000-square-feet, and bounded by Chemainus, Oak, Pine and Daniel streets.

“We’re hoping to break ground in the next six weeks,” he said, optimistic a North Cowichan municipal development permit would be issued by then.

The idea behind the landscaped mall, he said, is to help Chemainiacs shop closer to home, especially with the planned 450-home Chemainus Village eventually slated to take shape across the street.

“Chemainus doesn’t have much to offer right now,” he said of choices of amenity stores, “so people go to Duncan, but we want people to shop locally.”

Mayor Jon Lefebure was also amped about the mall, marked for the vacant spot Spurling and Wansborough bought from the McBain group that planned to build a retail project on the site several years ago.

“It’s under new ownership and it’s going ahead,” the mayor said of the project on about four acres.

“They described it to me as a Granville Island -type of development,” he said of Vancouver’s heritage pedestrian-shopping mecca.

“We’re also working with them on a roundabout at Oak and Chemainus Roads.”

Municipal treasurer Mark Frame said it’s too early to estimate tax revenue North Cowichan will reap.

C-9 zoning also allows for offices, brew pub, clubs, gallery, a hairdresser, laundromat, museum, veterinary clinic, restaurant, recreation facility and retail.

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