20 March - 11:25 p.m.
For what ever reason, it seems things can go downhill faster than you
imagine. It's unfortunate but I guess that's just how life works. Where we stand at the present moment is this:
When we first rented the building that is known as The Venue in June 2018, we were assured by the RDCK building inspector that our intended use of the building would not constitute a "change in use" and thereby not trigger a need to upgrade the building to today's building codes. The building was built in 1945 or so.
On the 18 March the new RDCK building inspector served notice to our landlord that an application for renovation had to be submitted by the end of the month. Here is the notice the landlord was given:
I have been informed that there has been multiple functions happening at 3622 Church Rd. and more are planned for the future. I have also noticed some exterior renovations and can likely be safe to assume there has been some interior renovations as well. The alterations and improvements to the building along with the change in use require the engagement of an Architect.
We will require a letter of engagement from a coordinating professional along with an application for the change of use and improvements to the building. It is important to note that we will require a ‘Schedule A’ from the coordinating professional.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Time is of the essence with this, We are hoping to see an application and letter of engagement by the end of March to avoid a ‘Stop Work Order’ and ‘Do Not Occupy Notice’ placed on the building.
February of last year our landlord did hire an architect that did a building inspection and the list of things needing to be done. Being a registered non-profit society it was outside of our financial ability to make the upgrades. Our landlord did not want to make the upgrades so it was left up to us. We contacted a contractor, associated with The Venue and asked them about the list from the architect. They said many of the requirements were unnecessary and in light of our original information from the previous inspector, not required unless there was a change of use. To be on the safe side we began working on the requirements that we could afford. We installed fire extinguishers at the top of the stairs, a lighted exit sign and a crash bar for the front door. These were done at the societies expense.
This year was looking good and the possibility was real that we could earn enough money to complete many of the items on the list. We had 35 concerts booked with musicians such as Oliver Swaine, Ken Hamm and many others. Many other projects such as movie recordings, workshops, building rentals were also starting to happen bringing in more funds. Having put $12,200 into the building by the end of 2018 and thousands more in 2019 I wasn't financially able to put any more of my money into the project. The monthly cost of maintaining The Venue to date had consumed my monthly pension cheques since June 2018. The prospect of having The Venue start paying it's monthly bills was welcoming.
Then disaster struck, COVID-19 swept the world and caused us to cancel all events at The Venue. The length of time was undetermined but government news broadcasts suggested the shutdown of businesses may last all summer long. With the prospects of raising funding through performances at The Venue ended by the virus, it looked like our plans to do any renovations at The Venue were crushed as well. Then the notice from the RDCK was served giving us less than two weeks to complete their requirements.
I attended the RDCK office at the library but wasn't able to talk with the inspector because the landlord had to fill out a representative form. We did engage is a short conversation about change of use in which he said in his opinion the use of the building constituted a change of use therefore we had to make the changes. I assumed because of the COVID-19 threat he didn't want to talk in person because he said to submit everything by email.
I went back to The Venue and wrote an email to the RDCK asking for an extension for 6 months and sent it via email. I may post the letter here eventually. Read the letter.
The next day, Friday I met with the landlord and was informed the building was being put up for sale.
So there you have it. Does The Venue live or die? If I had the money I would buy the building and donate it to the society but I don't and unless I win a lottery, I never will. If our society owned the building it would eliminate a lot of restrictions placed on us by the landlord and allow more opportunity for us to have income producing shows. It would also allow us the ability to qualify for government grants that could be used to fix the buildings code deficiencies. Unfortunately, we do not own the building. If it actually does go up for sale we don't presently have the funding to purchase it or make a down payment. I have asked the landlord on three separate occasions how much to buy the building but never got an answer, so I don't even know what the price would be. I guess we will find out soon enough. Also, we haven't received an answer back from the RDCK as of yet. So as far as we know, we have to be out of the building by the end of this month. With this in mind I have rented a 10 X 30 storage locker to store as much of our equipment in as possible, I have also started looking for an apartment to rent because as you know, I lived in an attached suite at The Venue.
Is there a way we can make The Venue continue to happen? I will keep fighting, but at the moment I'm worn out and I'm lost at what to do. My priorities right now are surviving and getting a place to live and moving a huge amount of stuff into storage. We will operate somewhere, I don't know where ... I hope it's here, where we are at now.
Good night ....