Council ponders how to deal with the Mackenzie merchants’ demands

By David F. Rooney

City Council is quietly pondering what to do about the demand for compensation by some Mackenzie Avenue merchants.

Council met as a Committee of the Whole, a procedure that allows the mayor and councillors to discuss issues freely without a binding vote, and very briefly acknowledged receipt of a list entitled, “Mackenzie Merchants Supporting Damage Claim,” that was provided by Grizzly Book & Serendipity Shop owner Vanessa Smith.

The list says the demand for $10,000 each as recompense for losses suffered during the Grizzly Plaza expansion is also supported by Village Idiot owner Joel Asher, Intense Audio’s Jason Shoji, Main Street Cafe’s Shelley and Rob Gibson, Shirley Pierlot of Filigree Antiques, Janet Pearson of Talisman Fibre and Trading Co., Lisa Fowlie of the Dollar Dollar Store, Malone’s Confectionary’s Susan Freberg, Society Snow and Skate’s Karl Jost, and Emma Mathieson and Angus Fraser of Valhallah Pure.

All of them also attended a recent meeting of merchants affected by the Grizzly Plaza extension project. As did, according to the list, Pat Campbell of Conversations, Angela Waterson of Second Chance/Escape Within, Gary Sulz of Brandon Bowers Funeral Home and Deenie Ottenbriet of Chantilly Kitchen, Bed ‘N’ Bath. However, these four particular business owners, while aware of the demands, have said nothing about them either way since the meeting. Bruce Ross of Bad Paul’s and Rita Stacey of the Heather Hut also attended the meeting and were identified in the list as having done so. It said they “were affected by construction not as greatly as the above merchants.”

Little was said by Council other than an acknowledgement of its receipt of the list. Councillor Tony Scarcella, who was chairing this meeting of Council as a Committee of the Whole, asked Grizzly Books’ owner Vanessa Smith if she had anything she’d like to add. Smith declined to comment.

Afterwards she would say only that the merchants want some kind of accommodation with the City. They are all awaiting a response from Council.

The agenda for that meeting listed the last piece of business as the In Camera portion. In Camera meetings are closed. Members of the public and the news media are excluded from their discussions, which can often, as stated in this agenda, include land acquisition or improvements and, as stated in the agenda “litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality.”