Appeared in the North Shore News – June 22, 2012
TO coin a phrase, it will be the end of an era. And upsetting for many – especially older – West Vancouverites.
It’s the closure, July 1, of the Ambleside Safeway.
It will hit home, which is where we all live, for older people who walk to the supermarket from nearby condos and suites, and who physically (and financially) can’t easily shop elsewhere.
They, and the supermarket, are part of West Van’s characters and character.
It’s an unusual situation: Grocer tenant, grocer landlord. Safeway is the tenant on the 1.4-acre site – and it isn’t leaving happily. Landlord H.Y. Louie Co., B.C.’s third-biggest private company with 2011 revenue of $4.5 billion, didn’t renew the lease and plans to renovate the store.
H.Y. Louie supplies groceries for Marketplace IGA stores, which are independently owned. A company vice-president said he had no information about the duration or cost of the renovation, or the new tenant – though there’s little doubt it will be a Marketplace IGA.
These stores, like the one in Dundarave, I’d rate as a cut above Safeway stores in terms of a wider product range, some fancier goods and generally prices to match. Appealing stores – no criticism of them here – but if the new tenant is a Marketplace IGA, Ambleside’s little old ladies and men will likely pay a tad more for their foodstuffs.
The renovation time frame worries Coun. Bill Soprovich: “My concern is that closure for a long time” – like six or eight months – “would have a devastating effect on the area.” Park Royal Shopping Centre attracts customers from North Vancouver and Vancouver’s West End; the Ambleside Safeway is West Van’s own.
H.Y. Louie’s original plan for the site included a below-ground supermarket, retail and office space, and a residential tower. Announced early in 2011, it drew furious popular opposition.
The eye of the storm was the tower. The company pitched two options: a) 15-storeys; b) 10-storeys. Some protesters loathed both. The Official Community Plan allows four.
Town hall staff recommended against the development, and the company never made an official application for it. Considering the continuing tepid economy and general decline in real estate sales and prices, it may have lucked out.
. . .
In this celebratory year, it isn’t just the Queen and the Stratford Festival that are marking a 60th anniversary: So is the North Shore Community Players – though, says publicist Anne Marsh, “it was a going concern for several years prior to that.”
Taking part in tomorrow’s festivities, at the charming Theatre at Hendry Hall, will be North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton and senior editor of the North Shore News Martin Millerchip, an early member, actor and director – and incidentally my boss. Now will you get your foot off my neck and my play script, Martin?
. . .
Let us concede that responding to mail – especially, these days, email – is a formidable task for members of Parliament.
Well, so it is for almost everyone else, and few get the money or perks of MPs.
Letters in the News from North Vancouverites Alison Andresen and Ming Berka scorched Andrew Saxton, Conservative MP for North Vancouver, for not replying to their letters. Others have chimed in.
Saxton is a smart guy, holds a couple of parliamentary secretaryships, and has a lot on his plate. But the only thing worse than an MP’s boilerplate form letter to a constituent is the nonletter. Saxton apologized and promised a better system, but the damage is done.
I’ve had a similar problem with John Weston, same party, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.
Wrote; computer-generated reply; wrote again; all same; gave up. Oddly, he was easy to reach when a candidate.
U.S. presidents are restricted to two terms. That might be a good benchmark for MPs. Or maybe at that point they should face challenges at the party constituency level.
. . .
CKNW’s Philip Till is a brilliant, world-class radio essayist. The station shrewdly has begun using his superb language and polemical skills in commentaries on his show. Of course, that’s easy to say – when you agree with his opinions.
Naturally, as a trained professional writer – and in past life detached and objective editor – of opinion, I’m just as annoyed as Joe Doaks by an opinion I disagree with.
And so we come to Till’s views last week on the death of the beached young humpback whale at White Rock.
Till mocked, sneered and jeered at the many people who were moved, spoke with catches in their throat, left flowers on the whale, which apparently slowly died due to coils of fishing lines in its mouth. Some touched the body, I suspect out of reverence and sorrow, not just curiosity.
Till derided them as hypocrites.
I was fascinated that CKNW fudged his talk’s subject matter on its website: “Philip shares his editorial on why he’s insensitive.”
© Trevor Lautens, 2012