Struggling Wasaga Beach beachfront businesses will get chance to exit lease
Published Thursday, July 28, 2016 7:09PM EDT
It's been a busy summer in Wasaga Beach, but despite all the people some beachfront businesses are struggling.
Some business owners have complained to town council about the struggle and are being given a one-time option to get out of their lease without penalty.
"At the end of the day it's the town saying we don't want you to struggle,” says Mayor Brian Smith. “We don't want you to go bankrupt. We don't want you to lose everything you own based on a bad business decision."
Last year the town decided to spend $13.5 million to purchase properties along Beach Area One. The town is the landlord for the beachfront businesses and voted four to three to let them out of the leases.
"I truly believe that the town and the beachfront properties we should be a landlord we're not their business partner,” says councillor Sylvia Bray. “There are out clauses in most leases, and we should be investigating them rather than just saying ‘hey penalty free walk away.’ My fear it's a very dangerous precedent setting for all future leases the town enters into."
While the town says it hasn’t decided on how it will help the shops that decide to stick with their lease, they are certain the rent will not be lowered.
"I believe that what those buildings are renting for today they're worth every bit of that, and more,” says Smith. “Our job is to get as many people to Wasaga Beach as we can, and I think we're doing a darn good job. Individual businesses have to get those people in their doors.”
The town will now meet with all seven of the business owners along the beachfront that lease from them to see who will stay and who will go.
None of the business we tried to talk with on Thursday were saying for sure what they plan to do.
Council hopes to know by the end of August.