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Letter: West Point Grey gym owner favours split assessment

Re: “West Point Grey businesses struggle amid continued rent hikes, taxes and uncertainty,” Feb. 26. I have had a gym up in Point Grey Village for the past three years and was forwarded your article by a number of my clients.
"The Point Grey Village neighbourhood truly is in transition, but as new development happens, and mo
"The Point Grey Village neighbourhood truly is in transition, but as new development happens, and more commercial/residential properties are built, I feel the neighbourhood will be revitalized," writes business owner Steve McMinn. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Re: “West Point Grey businesses struggle amid continued rent hikes, taxes and uncertainty,” Feb. 26.

I have had a gym up in Point Grey Village for the past three years and was forwarded your article by a number of my clients.

The papered-up windows on the grey building next to the pub for lease are covering my new under-renovation gym space, opening mid-March.

I was operating across the street and moved into a bigger location to accommodate my increased business.

Personally, I have had a lot of success since opening up in PGV, and feel that services like mine can be very successful despite the declining retail sector.

Of course, the "sky tax" issue is a big one, but as it affects every business all over Vancouver, it’s not the main issue as to why retail and some other businesses are not doing well up here.

I have plans in the works to co-ordinate with other BIA's in Vancouver to take our concerns to Victoria and push for the unfortunately rebuked split-assessment, which I believe to be the most important thing lawmakers can do to help those of us with small businesses. 

Leaving us with only the option of bankruptcy, and lease default when we can't afford the new rents, is truly killing unique small business in this city.

If it continues, every business district will look the same, with only big franchises and large-scale, multi-location retailers able to afford the rents. This will kill the character of our unique neighbourhoods, and make it pointless to check out anywhere other than where people are living or staying while visiting Vancouver. 

There are many other cities that have tackled this issue with forward-thinking zoning and tax relaxations, allowing people like me to start a business at a reduced cost, then take that success to a newly constructed building, while still maintaining the unique character of the business. 

The Point Grey Village neighbourhood truly is in transition, but as new development happens, and more commercial/residential properties are built, I feel the neighbourhood will be revitalized.

Steve McMinn, 

Vancouver