Family’s four-year effort at business by Pitt Lake about to go under

Paul Dussault hasn’t decided to do with the food stand building

Paul Dussault hasn’t decided to do with the food stand building

Should he pack up and leave or try to preserve as much as possible and get some return from his labour of love for the past five years?

Paul Dussault doesn’t quite know what to do with the leftovers of his Riverside Grill, the snack bar and deck he operated at Grant Narrows Regional Park for four years.

Dussault and his wife Kim bought the business and the existing building in 2006, borrowing $51,000 to do so.

Their original intent was for their daughter Astara, partner of Lance Williams, who ran Ayla Canoe Rentals, to run the business. That didn’t work out, so they had to hire staff, which ate into the profits.

Coupled with high fuel costs and the requirement to funnel 10 per cent of their gross sales to Metro Vancouver, the business only started to make a profit in 2009.

The couple didn’t open last year because of a notice from Metro Vancouver stating that the business would be put out to the public for bids and that they’d have to tear down the building.

“We didn’t think we’d be thrown out and we’d lose $50,000. We were pretty devastated over this,” he said last week.

Metro Vancouver walked away from operating the park on Dec. 31 because it couldn’t secure a long-term lease with the provincial government.

Katzie First Nation has said it wants to operate the parking lot, canoe rental and concession stand at the lake and is working on a proposal to the provincial government.

During the time he’s had the business, Dussault, a gasfitter, upgraded the building by installing solid gas lines, bringing in a diesel generator, fridges, freezers, a deep fryer and two thousand-litre water tanks.

While he’s been told he has to vacate the premises and tear down his building, Dussault is wondering if it makes sense to keep the building for use by whoever’s the future operator. That way he’d be able to recoup some of the money he’s put into the place. His bottom line price is $50,000.

“I don’t want them to come in and say, ‘It’s ours now,’ “ he said.

“I slaved there and did all kinds of work for naught.

“I’m offering it for a reasonable price. That’s why I don’t want to start taking it apart.”