To Simon Fraser University's Gordon Price: It came to my attention very recently that the Safeway on Marine Drive in West Vancouver has permanently closed, with little if any advance warning. This is not the first major food store on the North Shore to vanish in recent years, nor the last. In a North Shore News story covering this event (With Closure, Seniors Lose a Hub, July 6), you tell the readers not to worry about "food deserts" popping up on the North Shore, because this
is all only part of a trend to eliminate large food stores that are surrounded by parking lots, to discourage shoppers from driving. I guess you are implying that many smaller food shops with little or no parking will replace them. Are we, the North Shore residents, supposed to be happy about this?
My wife takes care of the food shopping for our West Vancouver family and walks to the IGA Marketplace on Marine and 25th Street to do so (with two preschoolers in tow).
She rarely if ever sees other shoppers walking down the street with IGA shopping bags, nor are there any bike racks full of bicycles surrounding the store. Perhaps the odd shopper takes the bus to do their grocery shopping, I don't know; however, the fact is that the vast majority of shoppers at the IGA drive there, and prefer to do so. Even in densely packed Europe, which we visit regularly, there are big-box food stores with large parking lots surrounding them. Americans invented this style in the 1950s, and Canadians and then Europeans adopted it, and at least in North America it has worked just fine for more than half a century.
I am in no way condoning urban sprawl, but to take away highly functional stores and their lots so that some developers can make a financial killing is borderline criminal. This is exactly what is happening on the North Shore, and throughout our lovely metropolitan region. I only wish more residents were vocal in opposing this quality of-life-reducing trend.
What is happening in Greater Vancouver as regards property development is gradually driving away the best of our residents. I shudder to think about the Vancouver of the future.
Walter V. Cicha West Vancouver