Appeared in the North Shore News – April 25, 2014
Where to start? Pamela Goldsmith-Jones? Sentinel Hill on guard again? West Van’s disappearing 7-Eleven? As the Good Book (as we used to call it) says, the last shall be first: Ambleside’s 7-Eleven at 14th and Marine Drive will close forever May 28. A huge blow to West Vancouver’s bustling night life! In truth, just about the only business in the area that bustles after serious dark.
Sure, largely with teens foraging for tasty snacks that are recommended by sugar and salt companies and patient-needy dentists everywhere. But any evidence of youth is welcome in West Vancouver, where the average age is 107 and the town coat of arms is a cane superimposed on a wheelchair, with lion and unicorn on each side, dozing.
The Canada Post outlet in the store closes May 24, but the town’s stand-alone outlet is just a block and around the corner away. The nearest 7-Eleven will be at 1245 Lonsdale in North Van. Get on those bikes with banana seats and pedal over there, kids! Agent 7G6eR2 messages me: “I currently go to North Van for movie theatres, car parts, cheap groceries and lumber. Now to top the list, Slurpees! I remember the fun days when all those were readily available in West Van, and I often ponder whether the sterilization of this municipality is a benefit or a minus to its residents.” He’s not alone.
This turn of events coincides with the shuttering Tuesday of Loblaw-owned Extra Foods at Park Royal, popular not only with purse-light but also thrifty shoppers who could afford better. (They got richer by being thrifty. Bill Gates still washes his dishes.) Extra Foods looked forlorn in dying days as the shelves emptied and some shoppers expressed sadness. Its flyers and those of competitors Safeway and Save-on-Foods bristled with sale items last weekend. Great savings for customers.
Adding to the dismal air: Extra Foods staff – given notice only last month, at least two having served as long as 40 and 45 years – weren’t offered other Loblaw jobs. They can apply and start at the bottom, one said bitterly. I’d expect more class from the rich Weston family owners of Loblaw (and, to repeat, I own Loblaw stock and Weston bonds).
Big issue at West Van council next Monday: The proposed Milliken project at Keith Road and Taylor Way, subject of a long and rancorous public hearing April 16. Shades of the 2007 dispute over the Millennium Group development of the Evelyn Drive area.
Andy Franks of the Preserve Sentinel Hill opposition group circulated an email listing half a dozen reasons to reject Milliken’s 91-suite Maison project – self-wounded out of the gate by a clumsy failure to notify neighbours. Among the criticisms: There’s “a surplus of this type of private seniors beds in our community (at a cost of $6,000-$10,000 per month.”
More ominous: Planning director Bob Sokol, as quoted here, quite off-handedly said there will eventually be commercial development all along Taylor Way. Feel better? And do any of the big developers – Park Royal, Grosvenor at 13th, on Lonsdale in North Van, in Lynn Valley, and the cement-pourers and other well-paid trades – care a fig about dumping on our beleaguered governments the problem of creeping traffic, not just over our two already throttled bridges? Oh, not their problem.
By this time you won’t have read it here first, a hack-free homing pigeon sent by Agent 6B3e9mD having alerted me but beaten by speedier email: Former West Vancouver mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones will seek the Liberal nomination for the federal riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.
Goldsmith-Jones, 53 this year, will face incumbent Conservative John Weston in the October 2015 election – assuming that she wins what could be a tough nomination battle, and that Weston, who turned 56 last Saturday, will seek a third term. Not that Weston’s nomination is guaranteed either: He’s crossed the boss on procedure concerning the abortion issue. And, as Blair Wilson shrewdly exploited to snatch the sprawling riding, more than half of its population of 134,000 is outside of West Vancouver.
No grass has grown under Goldsmith-Jones’s feet since she declined to run for a third mayoral term in 2011. She’s grown a consultancy while also studying for an executive MBA (smartly specializing in aboriginal issues, a sure-growth industry) at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.
Take note: Two well-known West Vancouver women’s computers have been hacked. If you know them and get emails from them that seem strange – trash them. The illiterate language is the tip-off. The “bad guys,” a victim says, apparently live in Surrey and Abbotsford. One email urges the recipient to press “here” right away. Don’t.
Re all the praise for Jim Flaherty: Me too.
© Trevor Lautens, 2014