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Move fails to save Crown bookstore

Feb 09 2012

The B.C. government has closed its Crown bookstore, less than one year after opening it in a newly restored heritage building in Victoria's James Bay. Five people have lost their jobs.

The bookstore wasn't financially sustainable, so it will be converted into an online business, the government said in a statement.

The store was set to lose $236,000 this year. Employees were informed about the closure Tuesday.

"This is about ensuring taxpayer dollars are respected and well-used as we work towards a balanced budget," the government statement said.

The bookstore had offered a unique selection of government publications, nautical charts and items not found in private stores.

Previously, it was in the Queen's Printer building at 563 Superior St., near the legislature. It was moved to the heritage house last May to attract tourists and improve sales.

The Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government said it will try to find displaced workers jobs in other branches of government.

The heritage home, on Government Street near Michigan Street, is 127 years old and was once home to B.C.'s ninth premier, John Robson. Robson hired architect John Teague, who designed Victoria City Hall, to build the house.

"The building was vacant before the bookstore moved in and it's owned by us, so it was worth the try," the government statement said.

The store will close March 31 and the building will revert back to the government rental pool.

The online store will be at www.crownpub.bc.ca.

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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