To my fellow West Vancouver residents: If you are like me, you chose West Vancouver to be your home because it was different from other communities in the Lower Mainland; it was a place where community was important.
I use the past tense, because West Van as we know it is on the verge of extinction. The big flashy bus stops with ugly advertising have gone up. The district has signed a 10-year contract with Jim Pattison advertising, so it's too late to do anything about them. No one in the community was given a say.
Now, there's another change coming down the pipe, but this time we can make a difference before it happens.
The municipality has distributed a notice of a public hearing and public meeting for the redevelopment of the Shell gas station located at Marine Drive and 13th Avenue, the first business everyone sees when they arrive in West Van along Marine Drive.
I urge residents to attend this meeting and stop this multi-national corporation, which is proposing, in addition to a new, bright and shiny gas station, a huge "convenience store."
Is it Shell or the District of West Vancouver trying to dupe the community? On the notice, the size of the proposed store is given in metric (182 square metres). Sounds small, right? Don't be fooled; this is 2,000 square feet, the size of a large four-bedroom home.
The notice also says the company will re-evaluate the term "convenience store" after the proposal is accepted. So, first the municipality will accept the proposal and then the store will become what? "Supermarket"? "Tim Hortons"? "McDonald's"? The district won't know until after it has said "yes" to Shell. Why is it doing things backwards?
Any large store in this location would badly affect many small businesses in Ambleside, from the 7-11 to the smaller shops selling greeting cards, coffee, food and maybe even dry cleaning. You can fit a huge number of services and products in 2,000 square feet!
The Ambleside revitalization does not need to 'ugly-fy' our community. They are promising green roofs, but who are we kidding! Just look at the Google Images to view their designs.
Most people probably don't know about this project or the meeting that will take place on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at district hall. So, please stand together for the common good of West Van and its community, your neighbours and those living on Clyde Avenue, who hope to see Ambleside Park, the ocean, Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge instead of being reminded day and night, of corporate America.
Help save Ambleside Village and its community feeling. Help the local businesses survive. Get involved.