Basinview Centre closure decision upsets grocery store operator, businessman

·2 min read
The Basinview Centre houses a YMCA and other facilities.  (Google Streetview - image credit)
The Basinview Centre houses a YMCA and other facilities. (Google Streetview - image credit)

Business owners and local residents are upset about a decision by the Municipality of the County of Annapolis to issue eviction notices to the tenants of the Basinview Centre, a retail and recreation complex in Cornwallis, N.S.

The decision was made by county councillors on May 18 after the municipality learned it would no longer have insurance for the centre, which it owns, as of June 18. The insurance is being cancelled because of the condition of the building.

One of the tenants is the Fundy YMCA. Zane Lynch, a local businessman, said children and seniors rely on the pool and the fitness centre.

"A lot of people used it," said Lynch. "Community members are devastated."

He's created a Facebook site called Save the Basin View Centre and started a petition. Lynch said he's collected hundreds of names already. He has also had a virtual meeting with provincial and federal politicians to see if they can help find money to deal with the building's structural issues.

"If work was committed to, then the insurance might continue," said Lynch. "The county council just does not see this as a worthwhile investment."

'I'm shaking my head'

Fundy YMCA CEO Yvonne Smith wrote in an email to CBC that "we have been advised not to speak to the media at this time."

In a post on the Fundy YMCA's Facebook page, the organization's manager, Aimee Daigle, wrote: "Our programming may change, our roles may change, our facility may change but we will continue to provide amazing opportunities for our community ... thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through this complicated situation."

Sam Elias, who has operated the Value Foods grocery store at the Basinview Centre since 2015, said he has invested $350,000 into the business and was unaware of the building's repair issues.

"To tell you the truth, I'm shaking my head," said Elias. "I have my lawyer involved."

Elias said he could not afford to set up another grocery store in the area even if he could find the space. But he knows the loss of the Basinview Centre will be a big blow to the surrounding community.

"There's older people who moved here to be close to all the amenities, and you know when it's winter how hard it is," said Elias.

Besides the grocery store and the YMCA, a hair salon and a massage therapist will also be evicted if the building is closed.

The Basinview Centre is expected to be on the agenda of the next meeting of Annapolis County council, scheduled for June 3.

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