LAUTENS: A Triple-O fete for Park Royal Shopping Centre

It was a kind of Triple-O hamburger: A gracious bow to a slice of West Vancouver history, a dash of celebration, a seasoning of nostalgia.

Rick Amantea, Park Royal Shopping Centre’s vice-president of community partnerships and development, was speaking last Friday to a couple of dozen invited guests at the sod-turning ceremony for the centre’s projects on the former White Spot restaurant site.

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Noting that it had taken five and a half years to arrive at this moment – including often acrimonious public debate, as all present didn’t need to be reminded – Amantea said: “In honour of the White Spot, which served a million meals over 58 years here, we thought it would be fitting for our guests that the White Spot would serve the last meals on the property.”

He waved toward the tented area where a White Spot food truck was cooking the familiar fare – the reborn restaurant still vigorously turning out the signature Triple-O-flavoured burgers a couple of minutes away.

The sod-turners were West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith; Mansoor Lalji, chief operating officer and principal of the centre’s owning Larco Group; and Deborah Baker, co-chair of the Squamish Nation Council. Bill Soprovich – who attended, as did one other present councillor and aspiring mayor Mary-Ann Booth – pointed out a diagonal red line just steps from the sod-turning area that marks the Squamish boundary.

I crashed this party in round-eyed innocence, on a late tip from an agent who didn’t explain that it was invitation-only.

Praiseworthy, in light of my opposition to this expansion, I was received very civilly, even warmly, and was repeatedly urged to join the lineup for the historic last burgers. I politely declined. I had so many freebies in years of newspaper work that, for penance, I haven’t touched a complementary crumb or a drop for decades.

• • •

The July 28 Vancouver Sun ran a must-read piece that destroys the proportional representational gospel according to NDP saint David Eby.

John Hansen, with top-notch Vancouver, federal and B.C. credentials, born in Denmark and with wide family links there, details the disaster: A four-party prop-rep coalition government whose prime minister party “rules” – with 19.5 per cent of the popular vote.

This political dog’s breakfast is a mixture of 10 recognized parties competing in a voting system that ... well, let’s just sum it up: Don’t eat that, Elmer.

You’ll get indigestion. Denmark’s average personal income tax, 45 per cent; sales tax, 25 per cent; church tax, two per cent; new car tax, a fantastic, bicycle-encouraging 180 per cent.

But Belgians must envy Danes. A decade ago, thanks to its prop-rep system, Belgium reportedly went without an elected government for 589 days. (Did anyone notice?)

• • •

The death of Martin Collacott last month, as friends and colleagues asserted with far more than perfunctory respect, marked the loss of an outstanding man of many parts.

Martin, a retired diplomat, was an expert critic of Canada’s immigration regime – minus any rancour, racism or mean-spiritedness.

• • •

The wording was grammatically odd: “We are pleased to announce that the West Vancouver Museum has changed its name to the West Vancouver Art Museum.” An inanimate object can change its name?

Agent T4nSg8 was testy because the museum advisory committee acted without public consultation. The valid question is: When was the last time it displayed many or any museum objects? None that I recall. Deplorable, maybe, but the new name seems accurate.

• • •

A basic tenet of mine: The media – anywhere – can best be judged by what they leave out. Vancouver’s Crisis Pregnancy Centre was recently vandalized. Read/hear about it? I didn’t. Did any reader?

Oh, the centre is pro-life. Now, if it advocated ... fill in your own blanks.

• • •

How blessed we are, wherever our points of departure around the globe, to end up living in West Vancouver. And never more so than on one of these ghastly holiday weekends.

State Radio CBC reported Sunday that hundreds of thousands were enjoying the super weather – in their creeping cars, packed ferries, stuffed planes. CBC cited a remarkable traffic exception: All quiet on the West Vancouver front. And in the, um, lesser North Shore communities.

The explanation is simplicity itself. We live in a year-round resort. We are our destination.

(Let us pass over the brief swimming bans in Sandy Cove and Whytecliff and Ambleside Parks, needed just to keep us humble.)

• • •

And also (see above item) West Van delights in what lesser towns might call eccentricities. Like celebrating our Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II. With the appropriate RoyalTea-by-the-Sea. It’s at Dundarave Park tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2-4 p.m. Forelocks can be tugged if you wish.

rtlautens@gmail.com

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