North Vancouver resident Nicole Robins has an advice–and a warning–for elected officials: Slow down the development in communities.
“It’s time for councils across all municipalities to slow down this never ending development game. Your residents are fatigued. They are angry and they need their elected officials to listen and remember they were the reason they were elected in the first place,” Robins said.
“It was a very difficult decision to close. I am a born and raised North Shore resident. This community is everything to me and my family.”
Robins recently made the difficult decision of shutting down her store, Sprout Organic market in the Queensbury area of North Vancouver. The feverish pace of construction, she says, brought down sales to a point where running a business became unsustainable.
The store originally started as a home delivery of organic food but the delivery side of business was closed down few years ago. Robins said she chose the Queensbury location for a number or reasons: It was just up the hill from the warehouse so existing customers could follow it easily, it was a high visibility corner unit, and it was close to shops such as Mount Royal Bagels and the British Butcher shop that would create a better shopping experience.
She says the store had been doing quite well until the first of the two bike lane projects were initiated by the City of North Vancouver—the bike lanes running on either side of Grand Blvd and the traffic ‘calming’ /bike lanes at the top of Queensbury on Keith.
That effectively made people avoid the construction zone area for nearly one and half years, she says. Alongside, sale of homes for new developments pushed loyal customers out of the area. Add traffic snarls to this mix and the result was a significant drop in the business to the point where there was no other option but to shut it, Robin says.
“It was a very difficult decision to close. I am a born and raised North Shore resident. This community is everything to me and my family,” she said.
On the last day of the Sprout Organic Market, as people browsed through items marked on 50 per cent discount, an emotional Robins gave a succinct response to a customer on why the store had to be closed. It’s a poignant euphemism that that ring true for many long-time residents of North Vancouver.
“I have been North-Vancouvered,” she said.
By Gagandeep Ghuman