Reported by Emelie Peacock
Despite an ongoing redevelopment process that threatened to knock out South Vancouver’s only 10-pin bowling alley, Town ‘n Country Bowl will stay open for business.
Last winter, The Voice reported that Serracan Properties applied to redevelop the land, where Town ’n Country Bowl is located, which would have forced the establishment to shut its doors. Mike Gerla, manager of the bowling alley, expects to stay in business for at least another year or two with Serracan still waiting for the city to grant its permits.
Serracan not in a rush to start redevelopment
“From what we’ve been told, they’re not in any big rush. Especially with the foreign buyer’s tax, that’s definitely cooled the market off,” Gerla said.
This is good news for bowlers as the bowling season runs from September to April. “We’re just starting to get into the busy season,” Gerla said.
Serracan Properties applied to the City of Vancouver in June 2013, to build 368 market housing units, as well as retail space, a daycare facility and community centre at the location. The development will not include enough affordable retail space for the 1,200-square-metre bowling alley.
“We do not expect construction to start until 2018,” said John Conicella, executive vice president of Serracan.
Businesses will stay open as long as they can
The other businesses on site, TSN Insurance Services Ltd and South Van Liquor Ltd, are not sure how long they can remain open.
“We will be staying in the building until it comes down,” said James Cummings, manager of South Van Liquor Ltd. “It’ll be between a month and a year and a half. It depends on permits.”
When Town ’n Country Bowl shuts its doors, bowlers will have to commute to either Burnaby or White Rock. In the past three years, several bowling alleys have closed and Gerla sees this trend continuing.
“There will always be bowling, but it’ll be big huge places. The little ma’ and pa’ type operations like ours, they just wont be able to afford the rent in the big cities.” Gerla said.
A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. in city hall, people affected by the rezoning are invited to speak.