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Chemainus Village Square gets a round of applause from locals
As Chemainus Village Square nears completion, locals raved about the results during a recent taste-and-tour event.
“I’m extremely happy they’re using geothermal energy to heat all the building,” Diana Hardacker said of the $10-million development bounded by Oak, Pine, Daniel and Chemainus streets. “It’s not burning fossil fuels.”
Bryan Aaberg echoed her sentiments, signalling North Cowichan council could work with other developers to install green energy “if it’s possible.”
“These buildings are nicely spaced, too,” he noted.
Some unique buildings in the glass, metal, and steel village — resembling canneries or warehousing — have been leased by anchor tenants 49th Parallel Foods, Island Savings, Pharmasave, and the Village Liquor Store.
Len Wansbrough, of developer Metropolitan Capital Partners, said some 35,000 of the project’s 62,000 square feet is leased, and only about 4,000 square feet is left to build on his formerly vacant four-acre site.
Now they’re hunting for more tenants such as doctors, dentists, accountants, chiropractors, lawyers, and eateries.
Some folks even suggested a brew pub would suit the Village’s upbeat ambiance.
“Things that serve the community,” summed Wansbrough.
Community grocery needs are paramount to 49th Parallel owners Wayne and Peter Richmond. Wayne said his new Village Square store, boasting wood beams and industrial metal fixtures, offers shoppers 21,500 square feet of choice. That’s about four times bigger than 49th’s current store in old town Chemainus, near the ferry terminal.
“We’ll renovate it as a satellite,” he said of the landmark waterfront location being renamed the 49th Parallel General Store.
He aims to continue serving nearby folks and ferry traffic, while keeping town character with his circa-1940s building.
Son Peter said the new operation, which opened for business Monday, will employ close to 50, after current hiring.
The Village Square concept also impressed George Gates, interim president of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce.
“I love the idea,” he said, applauding the accent on keeping dollars, jobs and municipal taxes in Mural Town by filling local needs.
“A White Spot in here would be awesome.”