Two iconic Sidney businesses are set to remain on the equally iconic Beacon Wharf until the end of 2024. But they will have to pay more for the privilege.
Council renewed the leases for the Satellite Fish Market operating out of the blue building on the northern side of the wharf, and Pier Bistro Restaurant operating on the southern end. This decision means that the current status of the wharf won’t change until after 2025.
“That’s a pretty key message to get out there,” said Coun. Peter Wainwright.
He is one of three council members who served on the Beacon Wharf Select Committee tasked with reviewing the future of the iconic but aging facility. Council last November voted unanimously to maintain the wharf for as long as possible without replacing it. Council also voted unanimously to inform Marker Group that the municipality would no longer pursue a public-private partnership to replace the facility with a floating wharf featuring a hotel and public space. It was one of two formal options before the public, the other being removal without replacement.
Council in November also unanimously voted to have the town begin planning for a reimagined waterfront within five years, that the next assessment of the wharf takes place in 2023 (rather than the staff recommendation of 2024) and that the existing commercial leases on the wharf be extended to the end of 2024 with future extensions subject to the next assessment.
Looking at the specific rates, Satellite Fish Market will see its rent rise 25 per cent to $1,500 per month for the rest of 2022 starting April 1. The monthly rate will jump by 13 per cent to $1,700 between Jan. 1, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023 and another 11.7 per cent to $1,900 between Jan. 1, 2024 and Dec. 31, 2024.
According to a staff report, Sidney has not reviewed the rents since 2017. “Given that there has not been a rent review in (five) years, staff reached out to a local commercial real estate firm to undertake an analysis to determine current market lease rents per square foot within Sidney’s downtown area,” it reads.
That review found that the previous rates did not “compare favorably” with market criteria. “The analysis further suggests that increases to the gross rentals for each sub-tenant may be justifiable,” it reads.
According to the report, staff had separate meetings with the businesses to discuss the renewal of the commercial leases, including the idea of raising the rates. “Both sub-tenants were receptive to the proposed increases and deemed them to be fair and reasonable,” it reads.
Ken Norbury of Satellite Fish Market said he is relieved to know that his business will be in place at least until the end of 2024. “I knew there would be a rent increase and to be honest it is a bit more than I was hoping for, but it is something my business can handle. Unfortunately the rent increase along with other rising expenses such as fuel, insurance and the cost of the actual product means I will have to charge more for some products,” he said.
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