One woman's questions about the proposed mall

Editor’s Note:
Like many of her peers, local resident Toria Long has spent a lot of time thinking and talking about the strip mall on the highway. She put together the following list of questions for City Council then chose to share them with the community at large via The Current.
To Mayor McKee and members of City Council:
Here are the questions that come immediately to my mind — I wish you wisdom through this process

  • What would the development look like if the zoning amendment isn’t granted?
  • Did the proponent insist on each and every change already listed? If no, please explain why the others were added.
  • Has the proponent indicated to any or all of you what types of public assembly or entertainment are envisioned?
  • Have you asked the developer to build (construct not encroach on the already scarce supply) employee housing since his tenants will have to pay relatively high wages to get people to work late hours in that isolated location where most will need a vehicle to commute to their rental housing?
  • Does the City planning on this proposal look at historical data only or does it expect impacts from Revelstokians losing lucrative wages from jobs related to the oil patch which have disappeared recently as the world price of oil has tanked?
  • Does it anticipate that the new government in Ottawa won’t move quickly on job creation initiatives in repairing or replacing infrastructure so unemployment in the skilled trades may disappear?
  • I.e. is there concern that the 200 jobs said to be created during mall construction may be drawing from the same labour pool?
  • As well, does the planning include an analysis of the effect of the low Canadian dollar?
  • We’re still feeling the pinch of our currency becoming less valuable to the rest of the world. But this situation has two important facets for Revelstoke: it is both an attractant for foreign spending here and an underlying co-cause with climate change /drought conditions of skyrocketing non-Canadian food prices.  This means new retail outlets profit by targeting those travellers-of-means who are in a hurry so want a quick turnaround off-highway stop or here for the season (summer or winter) and want to explore the town. But what do you see as the Up side of the new high-rent storefronts for locals on a budget?
  • Can you seven honestly encourage the people of this town to think that a high-rental-cost mall shop can offer better prices locally over the long term than the downtown merchants do and that the health services in the new mall will attract the ill and elderly and so make a third pharmacy a viable business investment in this community?
  • I’m concerned by language in the July 20 report to Council from Dean Strachan, manager of Development Services. The word that caught my eye was ‘likely.’ To me that word has a precise meaning — more than a 50% chance:
    “The proposed subject development would likely (emphasis added) result in an increase in community commercial activity as additional dollars currently moving along the highway corridor would be pulled into the community. In addition it would likely (emphasis added) result in more resident dollars remaining in the community instead of being carried out to other centres.”
  • So, what studies or analyses led to that conclusion about the likelihood / chance of resident money remaining in a high-rental strip mall? Or of additional dollars being pulled into the community? I wonder if it’s a damn-the-facts-full-speed-ahead scenario, the dreamy half mil being such a big carrot that little else matters?

Yours truly,
V. Long