Mayor takes heat from businessman

The owner of the Campbell River Common lambasted the mayor during his presentation at a recent council meeting

The owner of the Campbell River Common lambasted the mayor during his presentation at the Aug. 28 council meeting while seeking approval for a storage warehouse behind the mall.

Allan Edie, the owner of the Ironwood Street indoor mall and storage facility, accused Mayor Walter Jakeway, president of CR Storage, of harassment in a brewing business dispute between the two men.

Before Edie spoke, Jakeway left the council chambers after declaring a conflict of interest. That disappointed Edie.

“I was kinda hoping the mayor would sit through this,” Edie began. “We’ve had a little bit of a challenge with the mayor in the past in regards to what we’re doing. We’ve had the challenge of someone phoning and complaining that we’re not complying with the city’s wishes, building permits, development permits, etc. And when push comes to task, no one will tell me who’s complaining. But ironically, the same day, about 20 minutes after city official building inspectors show up, so does someone in a CR Storage half-ton. So to the fellow who has left via a conflict of interest, I just say ‘bad form.’”

Edie wasn’t finished.

“I would also encourage him not to harass our construction workers and people who are prepping the back side,” he said. “A leader should lead by example, not lip service. When he promotes himself by ‘Campbell River’s open for business’, somehow it comes across as ‘unless you compete with me.’”

After the meeting, Jakeway was informed of Edie’s accusations.

“I didn’t talk to construction workers, I didn’t say anything to them,” said Jakeway who expressed that he had the legal right to drive by Edie’s property. “His property doesn’t say ‘no entry’, it doesn’t say ‘no access.’ How’s that harassment? He’s gotta watch what he says.”

Jakeway said he drove by the mall with Coun. Ron Kerr because he was curious to see why construction was going on before a development permit for the warehouse was secured.

“He shouldn’t be excavating because there’s no DP (development permit),” Jakeway said.

Troubles between Edie and the mayor started to simmer last October, when Edie received council approval to develop a storage area for boats, RVs and other vehicles, in the back of Campbell River Common.

At a public hearing Oct. 20, before Jakeway became mayor, he expressed concern that the storage facility was violating Nunns Creek’s 30-metre riparian zone on each side of the waterway, there to protect the fish habitat. He said portions of the mall’s back parking lot encroach about 20 metres into the Riparian Reserve Zone.

“This means that any uncontrolled discharge within that area could possibly impact the health of the creek and the riparian habitat,” Jakeway said. “Large RVs, boats and other vehicles operated and maintained by whomever pose a potential source of toxic material and contamination to the fish.”

But Edie said Tuesday that’s not the case.

“Based on environmental reports, we’re not even in the riparian zone,” Edie said. “Based on the grade levels we’ve undertaken

to build this building we have a negative slope from the edge of Nunns Creek to our building of 20 inches. In laymans terms, that means the water would have to run uphill to affect Nunns Creek.”

To which Jakeway countered, “I don’t agree with him. There’s legally right decisions and morally right decisions. I want to see what a registered biologist says.”

Edie, meanwhile, had other concerns he wanted to air in front of council.

“Over the past few months on our video cameras we keep getting this same truck showing up that says CR Storage Warehouse on it,” said Edie as he held up a photo of Jakeway’s truck for council. “And this is one of many things that’s happening in the back and unfortunately these people don’t know they’re on camera. We’ve had situations where people drop by in corporate vehicles, with their phone numbers on them, to urinate in the back and to have sexual favours performed (in) various situations, all on video,” said Edie, who did not name any specific companies. “And when they’re confronted they say ‘well, we’ve been doing this for the last 20 years.’ To which I say, ‘we’ll you’re not doing it anymore.’”

Edie said despite the challenges, he’s found a niche in Campbell River.

“Obviously there’s a demand and obviously it’s been successful, and that’s why we’re going forward,” he said.

Council agreed and approved Edie’s development permit to build a 30,000 square foot storage warehouse in the mall’s back parking lot. Kerr was the lone councillor opposed to the warehouse.

“I feel we’re going in the wrong direction putting a building in there,” Kerr said. “The building is moving into the riparian area. I just can’t see it being a good thing for the community.”

Jakeway did not vote because of his declaration of a conflict of interest.