Posted on 26 September 2012 by Keith Lacey
Construction is expected to begin next spring on a new 4,000 square foot gas station/convenience store business that will be located at the corner of Hwy. 3 and 45 Street leading to the Spirit Ridge Resort and Spa and Nk’Mip RV Park in Osoyoos.
The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) last week signed a memorandum of agreement with Petro Canada to build the new gas station/convenience store, with the target opening date tentatively scheduled for late June, said Chris Bower, business development officer with the OIB.
“We would love to have it open before the July 4 long weekend,” said Bower. “We had talked about being able to open for the May long weekend, but quickly realized that wasn’t an adequate timetable, so we moved things back a month or so.”
OIB Chief Clarence Louie is also excited about the project.
“This store will help meet the needs of residents on the east side of Osoyoos Lake and it will also help create employment in this community,” he said.
The OIB has been talking about building a gas station/convenience store in Osoyoos for more than a decade and finalizing this deal with Petro Canada last week is exciting as it will help service the thousands of customers who use the NK’Mip RV Park, which has recently been recognized as the largest year-round recreational vehicle park of its kind in the province, said Bower.
“This has been a long time coming,” he said. “I know talks about a new gas station on OIB land started back as early as 2000 and talks have gone back and forth for several years.
“It was put on the backburner for a number of reasons, but considering how busy the RV park has become and how well the gas station and convenience store operation we run in Oliver has become, we thought the time was right to revisit this. We started serious talks about a year ago and we’re thrilled to announce the memorandum of agreement with Petro Canada.”
Conceptual drawings for the project have been completed and the project is ready to proceed pending final approval of OIB Chief Clarence Louie and band council in the next couple of weeks, said Bower.
“The only remaining steps are for the proposal to go before the OIB Development Corporation’s finance committee and then final approval by chief and council,” he said.
The tentative pricetag for the project is $1.5 million to construct the new business, said Bower.
Not only will seven or eight full-time jobs be created once the gas station/convenience store is open for business, but several good-paying jobs will be created during construction, said Bower.
“And we will continue the OIB’s longstanding policy to hire as many local people as we possibly can,” he said. “We will be using local contractors and purchasing goods and services from as many local businesses as we possibly can.”
The new gas station will be able to fully service large recreational vehicles, many which use the NK’Mip RV Campground, said Bower.
“We were looking for an opportunity to provide certain services on the east side of the lake near the campground,” he said. “We currently don’t have those kinds of services in town for the big 45-foot RVs that come to our park. We see this as an excellent business opportunity to service these kinds of vehicles.”
The RV park has recently upgraded to offer 74 year-round spots to RV owners, which makes it the largest year-round park in the province, said Bower.
The OIB is committed to creating more jobs and diversifying the local economy and opening this new gas station/convenience store is another step in that direction, said Bower.
“This is another step forward for the OIB and another business opportunity we’re excited about being involved in,” he said.
The OIB currently employs 169 people and there are 681 jobs on OIB lands through business partnerships and leases, said Bower.