Recent History – 2000
Feb. 9, 2000, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The Dawson Co-op Home and Agro Centre will undergo a $1.5 million expansion to more than twice its current size, board chair Myrna Gardner announced Monday. Located at 10020 Parkhill Drive, the store’s current sales area is “seriously undersized and crowded” at 4,000 square feet, and with the expansion, a greater variety of goods will be offered to home renovators, contractors and the farming community.
“The large sales floor will give us the much needed space to properly display home renovating products, as well as expanding our agro and hardware departments,” Home and Agro Centre manager Terry Grieman said.
As well, he said that as many as four more people will be added to the staff of 17 for most of the year and 21 during the spring. Construction is expected to begin this summer.
The Home and Agro Centre will remain open while the expansion is underway and the work will not have any effect on the shopping centre.
Co-op manager Ken Hlus said the majority of the money that will be used to pay for the expansion will come from Dawson Co-op’s own capital reserves while the remaining will come from existing lines of credit.
In anticipation of the work, the board of directors decided to boost the amount of the patronage allocation from Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) that goes into capital from 20 per cent to 30 per cent. Other than to help draw up plans, Hlus said that FCL is not involved in the project.
Hlus said the project is part of ongoing plans to expand Dawson Co-op, which has so far included an expanded yard at the Home and Agro Centre and a cardlock in Chetwynd.
The Home and Agro Centre enjoyed record sales growth of 17 per cent in 1998 which was attributed to the expanded yard.
Meanwhile, Gardner remained tight-lipped about plans for the Co-op Mall. “While we are still evaluating our options regarding the shopping centre, we are unable at this time to make any further comment as we feel that it would be unethical and unprofessional for us to further the speculation,” she said. “When a final decision is made on the shopping centre, details will be released in a timely manner.”
Tenants at the mall are worried that those plans may include forcing them out of the building to make room for an expanded grocery store. As well, there is also concern that FCL would take over ownership of the mall.
Some comments were made about Juste Hendricks’ decision to resign from the board of directors after he was unable to convince directors to take major changes to the general membership for approval.
Both Gardner and director Ross Ravelli said they were elected by the membership to make major decisions.
“The board is there to make decisions on behalf of all of the members, and some of them quite frankly are very difficult to do,” Ravelli said. “You have to agonize over it and I and the rest of the directors that were elected know that that’s our job.”
Hendricks said he had no problem with the expansion of the Home and Agro Centre, but he declined to say why he felt that changes to the shopping centre should be taken to the membership for fear that legal action against him would follow.