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New West biz hopes parking won’t put brakes on project

DS Tactical is looking for public support on its plan to expand

Dave Kerr is hoping that potential parking problems won’t put the brakes on his 12th Street project.

The owner of DS Tactical (Dave’s Surplus), Kerr wants to redevelop his property at the corner of 12th Street and Eighth Avenue, doubling his commercial space and adding a residential component at the back.

“We’ve run out of room, and we don’t want to move,” said Kerr, who has owned the popular military and police equipment store since 1986.

“The neighbourhood is on our side – we bring in the right kind of people.”

Kerr’s company provides uniforms to several police detachments. His plan is to expand the existing store and add three suites, which he hopes to rent out to law enforcement personnel taking courses at the nearby Justice Institute of B.C.

In a report to city council, planning department staff was generally positive about the proposal but cited parking as a concern. The report stated a project of this size normally would require an additional 13 parking spaces.

But the configuration of the property and the existing building make the cost of underground parking prohibitive.

Kerr is asking for a variance to eliminate the parking requirement.

“The retention and expansion of an existing building and the retention of an existing and successful business satisfies many of the goals and objectives of the official community plan,” the staff report states.

“However, the lack of parking challenges this project from a practical point of view.”

But neither the West End Residents Association nor the 12th Street Business Association have any problems with the proposed expansion – or a few more cars in the area.

“I don’t think 13 spaces is an issue – there’s ample parking on the streets,” said 12th Street Business Association president Amber Anderson.

“This is an anchor business for 12th Street, and we need more businesses like this.”

Elmer Rudolph, President of the West End Residents Association, agrees.

“Dave’s a good community and business citizen,” Rudolph said. “This looks like a logical business development that fits with others in the neighbourhood.”

“I don’t see anything particularly objectionable about it.”

If all goes well after the information meeting, Kerr hopes to be back at city hall asking for permission to proceed.

“We’d like to break ground ASAP,” he said. “Once we get the go-ahead we hope to be done within four or five months.”