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Nanaimo city council permits new Dollarama at Bowen Centre

Retail floor space variance granted for 1925 Bowen Rd. property
A Dollarama store is planned for Bowen Centre. (News Bulletin file)

Another dollar store is now welcome in Nanaimo after city council issued a variance permit last week to allow for a Dollarama along Bowen Road.

Eldorado Development Corp., owner of Bowen Centre at 1925 Bowen Rd., came before city council May 17 to ask for a retail floor area variance to allow for a dollar store in the unit previously occupied by End of the Roll.

The property’s corridor zoning allows a little more than 8,000 square feet for individual retail spaces and the variance will allow for about 10,100 square feet.

“The intent of that restriction is to limit the overall scales to prevent a large-format retailer from operating within the corridor zone,” said Jeremy Holm, director of development approvals, adding that the city’s intention is to maintain active storefronts in corridor zones.

Staff recommended the variance, with Holm saying Dollarama wouldn’t actually be large-format retail.

“It would still be in keeping with the scale of the existing shopping centre,” noted a staff report.

The previous tenant had been considered furniture and appliance sales, with no restriction on floor area, the report noted. End of the Roll had occupied the space from 1991-2019, but since then there had been no interest in leasing the space, said Jason Hendricks, speaking on behalf of Eldorado Developments.

He said splitting the unit into two wasn’t possible because the existing hydro service at the complex is “very near capacity” and he said an electrical upgrade would cost more than $100,000.

“In fact, we were not able to achieve the general power requirements for Dollarama and had to agree on less power,” Hendricks said.

He said adjacent tenants in Bowen Centre expressed support for the retail floor area variance.

“Many of the smaller retailers, restaurants and service industry tenants are struggling due to COVID and are excited at the potential of Dollarama attracting new customers coming to the centre,” Hendricks said.

Council unanimously approved the variance permit application.

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