Three years ago, Ivan Doering purchased an unused and run down building in Duck Lake, with the hopes of restoring it and opening an automotive parts and service centre. He repaired the roof, cleaned the inside, and made his dream a reality.
Now, his future in Duck Lake is uncertain, and he's calling for more support from the town's council.
“For 30 years I’ve always had a business,” Doering said, explaining he previously operated in Swift Current and Rosthern. “Every other town or city, they did everything they could to help me … If I was ready to do something, they were there in full support.”
In the winter, Doering received a letter from the town hall, asking him to remove parked cars from Elevator Rd. Doering said he parked cars along the road when work was completed so he could continue to work on other vehicles in his garage. Doering said he complied with the letter and signed a five-year lease with the adjacent property owner in order to find space to park the cars he was working on. He said he feels the treatment he’s experienced is unfair, as he regularly sees vehicles owned by employees at the pea processing plant parked along Elevator Rd.
The site of Doering’s business has also come under scrutiny. The building where his business currently resides used to be a gas station, and the old tanks and potentially-contaminated soil may have to be removed for environmental reasons. Doering estimated the process could cost between $50,000 and $500,000 to complete, not counting the business lost while the work is completed.
“We would close," he said. "We can’t afford to clean it up.”
Finally, Doering said he would like to see more support for his business from council. While his is the only local garage, he said the town's fleet is serviced at out-of-town garages.
Duck Lake’s Mayor, Donna Piche, said town council is awaiting word from the province regarding the land Doering’s business occupies before any official decisions will be made.
“We’re in the process of doing whatever we can to help him, but we’re waiting for government directive as to the Crown land which is in front of his building,” Piche said.
Piche also addressed the other concerns raised by Doering during an interview with paNOW. She said she was unaware of any complaints about vehicles parked along Elevator Rd. around the processing plant. When asked why the town council sends vehicles to Hague for service work, Piche said it comes down to liability.
“We’re under a liability that all our work has to be performed by a journeyman mechanic,” Piche said, adding Doering had never expressed his qualifications to the town council.
Piche said Doering had an opportunity to appear before council and express his grievances. She said council also needs complaints submitted in written form before they take any action on issues raised by concerned citizens.
The mayor said the community is working towards creating more local business and retaining businesses who are already present in the community.
“We’re trying to attract businesses and people, and we’d like to keep what we have, but if we don’t know what the concerns are we can’t act on them,” Piche said.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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