A longtime Lantzville-based business is packing up and sailing south.
CruisePlus, a travel company that has been operating at 7143 Calliet Rd. in Lantzville for more than two decades, says it will be moving its office to Nanaimo.
Dave Frinton, co-president of CruisePlus, told the News Bulletin that his company, which employs 30 people in Lantzville, will be relocating to an office on Ross Road by the summer.
“We are likely going to move out at the end of June,” Frinton said.
The decision to move to the Harbour City comes after the company’s redevelopment plans failed due to a tie vote by Lantzville councillors on a zoning amendment bylaw last October.
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Frinton and his wife had sought to redevelop their Calliet Road property from a commercial space to a mixed-use development that could have had two buildings that would have been home to both commercial and residential units. However, because the redevelopment plans included aspects that did not meet current bylaws, the couple had to come before council to get an amendment to the current zoning bylaw.
“We really wanted to build in Lantzville and the space, it is a neat piece of land,” Frinton said.
The Calliet Road rezoning application saga began in May. Lantzville councillors originally approved the first two readings of zoning amendment bylaw for the property but failed to pass the bylaw on third reading due to concerns around parking, water and the number of units. The amendment bylaw failed on a tie vote during its final reading. Councillors later agreed to revote on the amendment after they felt all members of council should be present for the vote. The amendment failed again on tie vote in October. Mayor Colin Haime was absent during both votes that resulted in ties.
“It was cruel,” Frinton said about the bylaw failing on a tie vote after being brought back for debate by councillors.
Frinton described the experience as frustrating, expensive and nasty. He said he understood some of the concerns, but felt that what Cruise Plus was asking was tasteful, adding that he’s not a big-time developer, but a local business owner who just wanted to improve his property and increase his presence in the community.
“I think tasteful development is really important and it would add so much to Lantzville and the town core, but [councillors] just don’t see it that way,” he said, adding that no one who was opposed to the project ever called him to discuss his plans.
Following council’s decision, Frinton said he had discussions with district staff about improving the property, but felt any proposed changes that needed approval from council would be rejected, so he elected to relocate instead.
“There is no way I am going to go in front of this council again,” he said. “They are going to find a way to oppose everything.”
Although Frinton still owns the property on Calliet Road, he and his wife have not decided what they will do with it just yet, but are set on moving to Nanaimo.
“It really sucks because we really wanted to stay,” he said.