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Archive: When is a deal not a deal?

When Berry, Lewis and Noyes get their way

Originally published May 25, 2006
A deal is not a deal — especially with two town councillors absent.

With Ric Shular and Rick Gorham otherwise engaged, the forces of nonsense gleefully tripped over themselves to defeat the principle of abiding by a contract.

Signed, sealed and delivered in 1996, the owners of McDonald’s and Madison’s Pub wish to exercise their sole option to extend their leases at the Leisureplex.

Richard Berry wants someone to pay more and see what the market will bear. And he also wants them to pay more for utilities.

The two businesses pay seven per cent in gross sales for rent — last year about $14,000 each. McDonald’s paid approximately $6,000 for utilities and Madison’s $2,000.

Both suffered major loss of sales from 2002 to the present. Madison’s saw further reductions with the implementation of smoking restrictions in 2004.

Lots of businesses “would love” those terms, Berry said.

Tom Lewis and Ann-Marie Noyes agreed.

While not wanting to speak for the record, McDonald’s owner Peter Paterson and Madison’s owner Emile McIlvenna were vexed.

One would suspect that with no gas, a nominal kitchen and no toilets, Madison’s would prefer to have metered utilities.

The “captive market” Berry spoke of as a reason to charge up to $25 a square foot — being mostly kids and parents who drive them — is not really such a hot market for alcohol.

Berry also interprets the option to extend the lease as a “first right of refusal.”

Since he was party to deliberations on the original contracts, one wonders where he gets his information.

Actually, said Mayor Wayne Redekop, the clause is an obligation on the town to extend the contract and to negotiate in good faith any change in terms.

Good faith being, among other things, a desire to amicably continue the current contractual relationship, whereas Berry merely wants to chase out two local business owners.

On the vote, Redekop and Paul Fell made it unanimous to defeat acceptance. The mayor’s vote on the prevailing side gave him the option to give notice to reconsider, which he exercised to bring it back at the May 29 meeting.

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