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retailer's debate not finished after all
May, 12 2006 - 8:40 AM
VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Almost a year after Vancouver City Councillors voted to ban big-box retailers from any highway-oriented lands, the new administration, controlled by the non-partisan association, could repeal that decision.
The issue of zoning along Southeast Marine Drive goes back before council on Tuesday.
Retail giant Walmart wants to build on that strip, but its application was rejected last June. Opponents are worried about traffic congestion and the impact on smaller businesses in the area. When city council approved the big-box ban last June, the only no vote came from then-Councillor and now-mayor Sam Sullivan.
Before he was elected last fall, Mayor Sam Sullivan admitted he would re-consider the Walmart proposal.
At the time, his opponents accused the retail giant of trying to influence the outcome of the November 19th civic election because Sullivan's campaign media manager also represented Walmart.
The original application to build a 143-thousand square-foot store on Southeast Marine Drive was voted down last June.
Council will be hearing a report from city staff on possibly repealing highway oriented retail zoning along the drive.
Councillor Peter Ladner admits the current zoning makes it easier for big-box stores to set up shop in the area. “If we said, no we're going to go back to the I-2 zoning for industrial use only then there won't be any stores on there,” Ladner said. “If we say we're going to go, leave it the way it is then they can be there."
Staff will be presenting a number of different recommendations to council on Tuesday but the discussion will likely be put over to a future meeting for public debate.
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