LETTER: Let the Mission-based pawn shop move next store

Council and the store owner should be able to come to an agreement on a variance

Regarding Mission Record’s article “Mission pawn shop owner wants District of Mission to let him relocate” dated August 20, 2020.

As a 16-year business owner on First Ave. and as a 35-year resident of Mission, I would like to share my thoughts on this issue.

I would like our community to support both our Mission district staff and mayor and council in finding a way to provide Mr. Sidon a variance to move his family’s business to the building next door that they purchased two years ago.

Corey’s father opened Mission City Pawn Shop 24 years ago and relocated his business to its current location 20 years ago.

Corey manages the day-to-day operations and now works along side his own son. Although we have limited interaction, they have been fine neighbours for more than 16 years.

Corey purchased the former Mission movie theatre, more recently known as Better Buy Books, two years ago – what I observed as the fulfillment of every business owner’s dream.

The problem is that around 2013, while developing the Downtown Revitalization Plan, it was decided that there were enough pawn, tattoo, and cheque cashing businesses in the downtown core.

This fit the vision at the time of creating a family-friendly environment.

Mr. Sidon entered in to the agreement to purchase the building 12 years ago – predating the bylaw.

This was a commitment he made to the prior owner and was to occur upon his retirement, which happened two years ago.

It would have been unthinkable when this bylaw was created to think Mission would one day have a casino at the entrance to our community, or that cannabis would one day be legal – much less sold in retail stores.

I always felt this bylaw was enacted with the best intentions, though a rather antiquated view of pawn shops – an industry that is heavily regulated both municipally and provincially, through the Pawnbrokers Act of BC, and federally in cooperation with law enforcement.

My kids sometimes shop there as part of their stroll through the interesting and unique stores on First Ave and Railway.

We have now, as a community, an opportunity to assist a local business, one that has been established in our community for 24 years, operated by a family for three generations, to show we are open for business.

Doug Lifford

Mission

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