Proposed Stanley Park gift shop expansion concerns Herbert

Park board commissioner Spencer Herbert isn’t too keen on a staff report that recommends the expansion of washrooms and a privately operated gift shop at Stanley Park’s Brockton Totem Poles Visitor Centre.

The report, which will be considered at the park board meeting on Monday (September 15) states that the proposed 1,900-square-foot expansion of about will cost $1.3 million. Destination Canada Gifts Inc., which leases space from the board for its Legends of the Moon gift shop, has agreed to pay $867,000 of the cost.

In exchange, park board staff recommend not only a 10-year extension of Destination Canada’s licence but also a revision of the rent formula to “allow the lessee to finance his capital investment”.

“My main concern is green space in the park,” Herbert told the Straight. “Stanley Park isn’t expanding but buildings in the park are.”

Opened in July 2001, the Brockton Totem Poles Visitor Centre features two interpretative pavilions showcasing First Nations history, and featuring the Legends of the Moon gift shop and washrooms.

“The popularity of the site, especially for bus tours, has resulted in the public washrooms being heavily congested throughout the summer months and the gift shop requiring additional space to enable customers to be serviced in a more comfortable level,” the staff report states.

At present, the rent formula provides for the higher of a fixed amount of $120,000 per year or an increasing percentage of annual gross sales—10 percent of sales up to $1 million, 15 percent between $1 million and $2 million, and 20 percent for over $2 million.

The staff report recommends a new arrangement in which Destination Canada would pay 10 percent of gross sales from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2015, and 14 percent of gross sales from July 1, 2015 up to June 30, 2021.

According to Herbert, his initial estimates indicate that the park board would be losing revenues of up to $2 million if the new formula is approved.

The Coalition of Progressive Electors commissioner maintained that the expansion of the gift shop would eat into the sales of another gift shop at the park’s Prospect Point, another major tourist attraction.

“There’s only so much gift dollars to go around,” Herbert said. “So it’s really robbing Peter to give Paul in this circumstance, and losing green space to do it.”