Amy Robertson for the CNFC Board
Change is afoot for the CNFC in 2019. In December, an article appeared in our newsletter detailing the decision of the board to expand the bakery in order to meet the demand of consumers for our bread and baked goods. As well, the expansion of the bakery will also provide more income so that we can adhere to the government-mandated raises of minimum wage, our own goal of providing a living wage, and long-term benefit to the store and islanders.
After much consideration, we decided the most practical space to develop would be the room where Hunt and Gather is located. The timeline has been challenging, as we were told of a $50K anonymous gift donated specifically for the bakery in late October, and renovating and equipping the space would take some months. Knowing that it needed to be functioning by summer when demands are greatest, as well as the tax implications of holding on to the gift as cash versus equipment, we sadly had to let go of Elisabeth Jaeger’s Hunt and Gather at the end of her lease.
This has not been an easy decision for the board to make but we feel that it is for the greater good of the membership, as it will produce the income needed to keep store prices reasonable as well as support our staff. We acknowledge that the two-month notice has been a very challenging situation for Elisabeth, and have offered her the adjacent room for storage and assistance with the move. To the artists with work hosted at Hunt and Gather, we are offering an art show in the Co-op Cafe gallery during the summer season.
The Co-op land currently hosts four tenants that mostly occupy their own buildings. We would like to continue to offer the opportunity for businesses to locate here, but they would need to provide and maintain their own structures, as our growing business will be utilizing the space within the store footprint. This option is open to all Cortes businesses.
The other change to the CNFC is the relocation of the driveway. The current passage is illegally positioned too near an intersection. That combined with the ongoing damage caused by water coming down from Beasley Road and the steep gradient where cars pause to check for traffic, has strongly motivated us to find an alternative. Yearly repairs to our existing, eroding driveway are fairly expensive.
Again, the board looked at our limited options that would move the driveway away from the pedestrian area, improve parking adjacent to the building, and also be accessible for our delivery trucks. We reached out to a number of local road builders as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for advice and have decided the best option is the south end of the parking area. The current driveway area will be reclaimed, and the access along Austin road will also be improved. Funding for this project is being secured from private sources and will not impact the 2019 budget for the store or cafe.
We appreciate, and expect, your direct feedback. Making change can be challenging in many ways, and the board is confident that the changes outlined above will better serve the membership of the Co-op.