West Quebecers on the move again
After moving a few blocks west from 53 rue Principale to 13 rue Principale last year, the Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ) is on the move again. “In a nutshell, the location that we are in is deemed residential but it should have been commercial because we need a commercial license to operate,” explained RAWQ President James Shea. “It’s cost-prohibitive for us and the landlord to make the transfer and the rent would be so significant that we can’t afford it. This is an economic decision. We are not dissatisfied with the location or the landlord or anything like that. The landlord has bent over backwards to accommodate us,” noted Shea. The West Quebecers moved to 13 rue Principale a dozen months ago but the zoning problems came to light only when RAWQ applied for a commercial permit with the city. Before the RAWQ settled there, the building was used as a home.
The landlord can make the changes to obtain a commercial zoning, but these would require significant renovations that would in all likelihood force the owner to increase rent, said Shea. “The landlord was informed that changes to the building were required for it to conform to commercial use, that is to say, to adapt the ground floor (eg. fire resistance of floors) and 2nd floors,” explained a city spokesperson. “After analyzing the situation, the owner decided against changing the building, and that the RAWQ would move.“
Galeries Aylmer possible
Without a set date, the West Quebecers are looking to move “sooner rather than later. We have discovered that there’s space available in the Galeries Aylmer,” noted Shea. “You must make the argument with respect to availability, accessibility and profile. There’s no question that malls are the new main streets in Canada. There’s lots of pedestrian traffic.”