Cold, wet Spring is putting strain on many Island businesses

Cold, wet Spring is putting strain on many Island businesses

If the wet, cool weather is starting to get to you, imagine what Island businesses whose livelihoods depend on Spring’s arrival are going through.
 Nearly a month into spring, we have yet to see more than a few hours let alone days of sun and warmth strung together and it has stress mounting where you’d expect to find relaxation.

On the links of Arrowsmith Golf Course, drives echo down the fairways of a surprisingly empty course nearly a month into spring.

“We’re optimistic that things will change very soon,” says Arrowsmith’s Clubhouse Manager Cindy-Jo Darbyshire. 

The slow business is a result of the wet, cool spring that comes on the heels of an extraordinarily bad winter here.

“People have been here for 20 years and it has never been this bad,” says Darbyshire.
For the first time in decades the Qualicum Beach club that’s usually open 365 days a year had to close for nearly three months due to freezing temperatures and snow that wouldn’t stop.

“We’re a small club and it affects our bottom line a lot,” says Darbyshire. “We can’t employ our staff, we have to keep our kitchen closed. It’s very difficult.”

Now Spring 2017 is proving to be another stressful season, that is testing businesses from tourism operators to garden centres.

“It’s the middle of April things should be just buzzing. Instead it’s been quiet,” says Geraldine Babiy of Arrowsmith Greenhouses. 

Where Babiy’s huge investment in bedding plants that should be sold by now, are still sitting on the shelves of Arrowsmith Greenhouse. As green thumbs continue to wear their winter gloves across the mid-Island.

So it’s been trying it’s been very trying. You know.

Opening her family business Troller’s Fish and Chips in Nanaimo’s harbour for the year in this rain and cold, brings a little extra stress for Penny Palen this April.

“Yeah definitely,” says Palen. 

They’ve just bought nearby floating Mexican restaurant, Penny’s Palapa and now have multiple businesses to support though this stormy weather. But she’s still smiling.

“I’m making something or putting something away and I go oh my God this is a dream,” says Palen.

Palen says look hard enough and you can find a silver lining in this grim start to Spring.

“One thing we have noticed in the past that even though we’re gonna have some bad days because of weather probably the nice days are going to be even busier than expected,” she says. 
Levelling out to a year, they hope to look back on having gone through and gotten better because of it.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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