It’s coming down to the wire for the Willows Pub.
Council is trying its best to facilitate the sale of the Rockland Road neighbourhood pub but the process has not been easy.
The pub sits on a piece of property that has been designated for only community use through the city’s sustainable official community plan.
Sue Thulin, co-owner of the Willows, has an offer pending to sell the pub to log broker Storey Creek Trading which wants to covert the pub into office space – a use not recognized for that particular site in the community plan.
At its March 4 meeting, council approved first and second reading of an amendment to the community plan to accommodate office use on the site.
Coun. Andy Adams thanked city staff for moving the process along.
“I want to thank staff for finding a way through this, understanding it is a bit of a maze,” Adams said. “Appreciate finding a way through this so we can find a resolution for this issue.”
Council held a public hearing Tuesday after the Mirror went to press and was expected to pass third reading and adoption of both the official community plan amendment plus a re-zoning amendment, which has already received first and second reading.
Council heard last month that the closing date for the sale of the Willows Pub is March 31 and council and city staff have done its best to speed up the process and make the necessary changes to the community plan.
Thulin told council in February that even if the re-zoning didn’t go through, the pub will be closing on March 30.
Council agreed it would rather alter the use of the site than have the building sit empty.
“We have an existing business that is no longer viable and this is another way to have that building used,” Coun. Claire Moglove said at the Feb. 18 council meeting.
“Is it the perfect use? In my view, absolutely not. But it’s not a negative use. I don’t think it adds to the neighbourhood but I don’t think it detracts from the neighbourhood.”
Coun. Andy Adams said at that same meeting that he can’t see any “consideration that justifies denying (the) application.”
While several residents in the Rockland Road neighbourhood have opposed the sale of the pub, the majority aren’t opposed to Storey Creek Trading moving in, rather they want the pub to carry on business as usual.
Thulin said that’s not an option and she has yet to receive an offer to keep the pub operating as is.