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London Drugs studies retail in resort too

Proponents expect to be before council in early 2006

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The fate of London Drugs in Whistler will most likely be left to the new council in the New Year.

London Drugs President Wynne Powell recently said they are awaiting the results of two Whistler retail studies – one commissioned by the municipality, the other by London Drugs.

The London Drugs study, which will be done by an independent research firm, will look at the effects the proposed store would have on retail in the resort. Among other things, the study will examine projections for new consumer traffic in Whistler, the competitive effects London Drugs would have on existing smaller stores and the supply and demand for the products at the store.

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Whistler have been invited to provide input to the study, which is slated to be complete by mid-October.

The other study, commissioned by the resort municipality, will ultimately form the basis of Whistler’s Retail Strategy, which is intended to provide "clear direction" for retail in Whistler. The strategy is set to answer questions such as:

• how much retail space is needed in Whistler?

• where should it be located?

• what should the retail mix be for each retail area by store type, size, products and merchandise?

The strategy is budgeted to cost $75,000 and is expected to be complete by the end of October.

Both studies were commissioned after the municipality put forward a controversial bylaw designed to limit the size of retail space in the village to 5,000 square feet. That bylaw is on hold pending the outcome of the municipal retail strategy.

In the meantime Powell said London Drugs would continue to fine-tune its design for a 17,000 square foot store, on two levels, located at the Whistler Village Centre.

And they will continue to engage the local community with their plans through events such as last Thursday’s public open house at the conference centre, which drew 50 to 60 community members.

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