Construction work on the Chemainus Village Square Mall is on schedule, and stores are set to open by the beginning of October, said Ian Spurling, one of the project owners.
Construction on the 65,000-square-foot centre began in June 2012.
Several businesses are set to move into the new centre, and space is available for several more companies to lease.
“Currently we have the 49th Parallel shopping centre, a Pharmasave, a liquor store, and Island Savings,” said John Kelly, the marketing manager for GeoTility Geothermal heating systems Vancouver Island.
“The remainder of the space — approximately 25,000 square feet — is for leases, so we are going to have local companies in there.”
The Island Savings is not set to open until January of 2014 said Spurling.
The shopping centre is being built as a shopping centre for locals, but Spurling would like it to be more than that.
“We have lots of opportunities for bistros, coffee shops, and that kind of thing,” said Spurling. “I’d love to see an art gallery go in to help with tourist numbers.”
One aspect of the shopping centre that varies greatly from a traditional commercial space is the way that it’s heated — with geothermal energy.
“Traditionally, commercial spaces are heated with gas, electric heat pumps, boilers, or a combination,” said Kelly. “The difference with geothermal is it uses the earth’s energy to draw warmth from the earth for heating, and when air conditioning is needed for the summer, it puts the warmth from the building back into the earth.”
There are several advantages to using geothermal technologies, which is something that has been around for quite a while, but is only now becoming a more affordable option for commercial spaces and private homes.
“The advantages to geothermal are you save money because you’re burning no fossil fuels, so there’s savings there,” said Kelly.
“Depending on the uses, the savings can vary, but generally, a user will save between 50 to 70 per cent of traditional heating costs.”
Along with savings by storeowners, there is also a great environmental advantage to using geothermal heating.
“There is no adverse reaction for the environment,” says Kelly. “Greenhouse gasses go to zero, so there are big advantages environmentally.”
One of the five buildings that comprise the centre is not completed. The date for its completion is uncertain at this time, but residents of Chemainus will be able to enjoy the rest by October.
“I hope the local community is pleased with the final product,” says Spurling. “We have lots of green space, and amenity space — the landscaping will really be something to talk about.”
CORRECTION: The original version of this story featured repeated misspellings (“Sterling”) of Ian Spurling’s family name and the print version, published in the Sept. 10 edition of the Chronicle, featured a misattribution. We apologize for failing to recognize and correct said errors before this story went to press.