A parking lot dispute caused a traffic snarl for a couple of businesses Monday.
The owners of Omineca Source For Sports and Nechako Outdoors ceremonially parked their company pickups in front of the storage bins where BBK Bottle Depot was doing their daily work.
"It is a bit of an inconvenience. It does stop us from putting our stuff away properly, and we couldn't ship anything out because we couldn't get into the bins," said BBK supervisor Ken Ziemer.
"Those bins are not supposed to be there, and they are not supposed to be doing their bottle depot business in our parking lot," said Len Funk, proprietor of the two businesses on the west side of the north-facing parking lot.
The lot sits in between Nechako Outdoors (Omineca Source For Sports is a few weeks away from opening) and Evolve Bike, Board and Ski. According to Funk, and also acknowledged by Ziemer, the two sporting goods stores each own their half of the parking lot's real estate and have a shared lease agreement over the other's half.
"BBK setting up their operations on that parking lot was not something anyone brought to us, they just set up show and went to work, and now we can't do our business," said Funk. "A lot of times the place is so cram-packed that our customers can't even get in. I can't believe there hasn't been a collision yet. We get lots of complaints, and we see it happening with our own eyes. Even the alley gets blocked off so I can't get my own vehicle out."
Ziemer said: "They feel that us operating outside at all is hampering their business. Their biggest concern is parking, but there are huge amounts of parking all around us here. It is easily available. It hasn't stopped their business, there are customers in there right now."
BBK's outdoor activities (they sort bottles under tent cover and store the incoming bottles in the disputed bins) are temporary. They are in the process of constructing a new facility right beside the two sports stores. Once construction is complete, all the sorting and storage will move inside, said Ziemer.
Funk said BBK's previous location was inside his building, and when he bought it with the intention of establishing Omineca Source For Sports into that space, he nonetheless worked out a short-term lease agreement for the bottle depot to continue operating for as long as possible. He said he did not envision the in-between-homes bottle processors to suddenly appear in the disputed parking lot.
Legal action is pending, Funk said. He wasn't sure how long he would leave his vehicles parked in their blockage formation but felt confident he was not parked illegally.