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Incubating business

The city’s Enterprise Centre could be in for an overhaul – but that decision won’t be up to city council.

Council, at its Tuesday meeting, distanced itself from any plans to add mini workstations for small or start-up businesses.

“This isn’t really something for council to make a determination of, this is an initiative of Rivercorp, InFilm, Creative Industries, the Chamber, Community Futures and all of the people in the Enterprise Centre,” Adams said.

A report from city staff outlining options for workspaces, or business incubation cells, that would add 2,823 square feet of office space to the Enterprise Centre was before council Tuesday evening.

Staff estimated the cost of the entire project, which was divided up into four stages, to be between $243,665 and $290,665.

Adams said that if the groups working out of the Enterprise Centre want to pursue the incubation stations, the onus would be on those parties to come up with the funding.

“This report provides some groundwork for the parties that be to be able to carry forward and I would say it’s in their court,” Adams said. “I think it’s up to those parties, to now that they’ve got some dollar amounts, to see what’s possible.”

Elle Brovold, the city’s property manager, outlined a plan that includes installing seven to nine standalone work spaces and one private office as part of stage one, with stage two providing for a women’s cell block with three private offices, one common space and a washroom. Stage three would involve a men’s cell block with nine standalone offices, one common meeting area, a storage room and a washroom while stage four would involve repurposing the Enterprise Centre’s garage into a large meeting room.

Coun. Larry Samson questioned whether or not there’s funding available to do such a project.

Adams said that the city of Nanaimo recently received a grant from Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICE-T), plus the federal government is making grant funding available for small business incubation innovation centres.

“There is funding other than city tax revenue,” Adams said.

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