Brioni Connolly, owner of The Poor Creature, poses for a photo in her shop in Yukonstruct on Nov. 1 — the first day she was supposed to have been moved out. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

The Poor Creature owner is ‘ignoring’ calls to vacate building, lawyer says

The business was told to pack it in on Oct. 31

The owner of a vegan café is “ignoring” an order to vacate the premises, according to Yukonstruct’s lawyer.

The Poor Creature and Yukonstruct have been at loggerheads for weeks because of the apparent expiry of the eatery’s lease at the end of last month.

The café was, however, open for business as usual on Nov. 1, and was still open by Nov. 5.

“That’s because they’re not listening,” James Tucker, Yukonstruct’s lawyer, told the News.

The Poor Creature’s owner was served with a notice on Oct. 11 to vacate the space on the last day of that month. Now, Brioni Connolly is overholding her one-year lease, Tucker said.

Connolly has since lawyered-up too (both clients deferred comments to their respective legal counsel).

“They are refusing to leave after the conclusion of their lease,” Tucker said. “You’re supposed to leave when that happens.”

Vincent Larochelle, Connolly’s lawyer, said his client was provided with two weeks’ notice to leave the building. He called the issue “unfair,” particularly because Connolly was under the impression her lease would be renewed — and with good reason, he added.

He said there were discussions regarding its renewal since July.

“Everyone was acting on the assumption the lease had been renewed, so Poor Creature didn’t look for any other place to rent. It was clear to everyone that the lease had been renewed.”

Larochelle said the notice was “last-minute,” and that his client was blind-sided as a result.

“There’s a little bit of an irony here in Yukonstruct and Makerspace, which has a mandate to foster start-up businesses, strong-arming my client in the way in which it is. Fundamentally, my client just wants to survive and is willing to talk to Yukonstruct to find a way in which to go forward that doesn’t involve the destruction of her business.”

The café was quiet on Nov. 5 at midday. There were two patrons.

Connolly told the News it was significantly less busy compared to last week around the same time. She said her only employee quit because it’s unclear what will happen to the business.

Tucker said a petition is going to be filed this week in order to see The Poor Creature removed from the building.

“The affidavit will explain everything,” he said.

In a previous interview with the News, Connolly said that Yukonstruct had not provided her reasons as to why it’s choosing to not renew her lease. It had, she said, offered to give her an extension on how soon she must leave the space, but communication has otherwise been limited.

With files from Jackie Hong

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse

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