GORE BAY – Customers of Finnia Chocolate need not fear; while the business has withdrawn its applications for an official plan amendment (through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and a zoning by-law amendment from the Town of Gore Bay) to allow for the business to expand and build at a proposed location on Meredith Street in Gore Bay, the proponents are still looking at options that would provide for an expanded storefront business at another location, for at least a couple of years.
“The cost for the application and the studies that needed to be carried out are really high for a small business,” Lisabeth Flanagan told the Recorder. She pointed out the official plan amendment application cost $2,000 and the zoning amendment application was in the amount of $900.
“We’re looking for another option to have our business to expand over the next two years, and the necessary zoning will already be in place,” said Ms. Flanagan. “No, we are not looking at locating at the Meredith Street (the former The Source store in Gore Bay) right now.”
“We are looking at all our options and looking to expand our storefront in the near future at another location,” Ms. Flanagan said. “We’re still staying positive. We have absolutely no plans to shut down the business—we’re still operating and will look to expand our storefront in a different space for the next two years, then maybe look again at the planned location.”
At a Gore Bay council meeting earlier this month, council reviewed a letter from the Manitoulin Planning Board to Trish Moran, Ms. Flanagan’s business partner.
“It looks as if they (Finnia Chocolate and Cacao) have withdrawn their application,” said Mayor Dan Osborne.
“They have withdrawn their application and received their application money back,” said Gore Bay clerk Stasia Carr, who pointed out as part of the applications a study was required to be completed looking at, among other things, the added noise and smell the business would create with the new enterprise at the Meredith Street location.
“So the lot on Meredith Street will stay empty for a while now, said Mayor Osborne.
“That’s really too bad,” stated Councillor Ken Blodgett.
Councilor Paulie Nodecker asked if Finnia could reapply for the zoning amendments at the Meredith Street location and was told this could still take place.
“Hopefully they are just re-evaluating their options and will reapply again in the future,” said Ms. Carr.
“Hopefully that happens,” added Councillor Nodecker.
For now, Ms. Flannagan added, “we are providing curbside pickup for customers,” at its present location on Water Street behind Loco Beanz. With COVID-19, “we are not allowing anyone into our store, but we had the customer pickup service for Easter and Mother’s Day and everything went very good.”
As was reported by the Recorder in May 2019, the dismantling of The Source store in Gore Bay, which had previously been Hardman’s Photo and TV, was taken over by Ms. Flanagan and her business partner Trish Moran, with construction of the new expanded business expected to take place toward a new bean-to-bar chocolate factory.