Watermark set to turn over Kits Beach lease to Boathouse chain


The Straight’s Matthew Burrows reported today that just five years into its 20-year lease with the park board, Watermark Restaurant will cease operations at Kitsilano Beach. Peter Barnett, who oversaw the Watermark’s much heralded opening  in July 2005, told the Straight that it is time to move on. At month’s end, Watermark leaseholder Barnett Family Holdings Inc. is set to hand over operations to Boathouse Restaurants of Canada.

At its meeting on Monday, April 19th, the Vancouver park board will vote on transferring the lease.

According to the article, 71-year-old Barnett said the decision to call it a day was based on health issues.

“I had a heart attack four years ago,” he said. “It put me on a difficult track. I lost my ability to speak for six months, and I was in rehabilitation for two and a half years. So, my son [David] took over the business, and he basically was in the restaurant industry, and he had a number of operations around the country. And it just put a great strain on him. I am still not functioning fully.”

Park Board Communications Coordinator Barb Floden says the terms of the lease will be the same for the Boathouse, assuming the board approves the transfer. The company will pay 6.5 percent of gross revenues to the park board, minus $800,000 – plus any financing costs – over 10 years.

The Boathouse currently has 6 locations in the Lower Mainland – English Bay, Horseshoe Bay, White Rock, Richmond, New Westminster, and Port Moody.

So Kitsilano.ca readers – are you excited about the Boathouse stepping in and taking over OR would you rather see Cactus Club take over this beachfront location as well?

Last modified: April 12, 2010

10 Responses to " Watermark set to turn over Kits Beach lease to Boathouse chain "

  1. Joe says:

    I can’t say I’m excited about another chain restaurant, but really, I think it’ll be an improvement over the Watermark. I’ve been multiple times and have never been impressed by the food.

  2. Nate says:

    I wonder if they will be serving White Elephant on the menu?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank gosh it’s not cactus club but don’t know about this one.

  4. Jones says:

    Another chain!! That sucks! So boring, it would have been so nice to see a local business succeed there, something unique or at least with personality…

  5. Bill Barilko says:

    While I agree that something other than a chain would be interesting it must be a difficult location-how much business is there in the evening during the dark months?

    My guess is that only someone with deep pockets can keep a place like that operating through the year.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It failed, it’s an eyesore. Now tear it down. If i want a drink at the beach I’ll bring my picnic basket.

  7. Adam says:

    Yes, it failed . Told you so.

    Now we’re stuck with a crappy chain and a pile of concrete and steel.

  8. Matty says:

    This will be a big improvement i’m sure. Watermark kept “watering'” down its menu and increasing prices so that it was no longer a casual drop in for the locals – just a bar scene in the lounge or for the chatty lookee-sees. Sent suggestions to various chefs but no response as per changes. Boathouse has an affordable but tasty menu and hopefully they can recapture the beachside cafe ambience of the take out (no sushi please -looks like stuff that got caught in the tidal pools!!). Maybe the locals could get a special “club” card for the off-season as a thank you for all angst. Besides, the view of misty foggy beach and inlet is superb in November to March (but that’s our secret).