Saanich councillor feels new Walmart at Hillside a step in the wrong direction

I agree with Zac on this one. Walmart's whole business model is to move into an area, dominate with low prices until small, local businesses are forced to shut down, then make the community beholden to them. They treat their employees poorly (shutting down stores if they hear a whisper of unionization), source products irresponsibly, and place no importance on environmental impact, something very pressing in this day and age. Walmart is only good for offering the veneer of low prices, while obfuscating the true cost.
There are a lot of things I wished for in this space, but Walmart was definitely not one of them. Zac, as someone who is trained in urban planning, recognizes that, and rightly calls this out as the continuation of a outdated community model.
When I was living in Ontario our small town was approached by Walmart. They wanted to open a store there. Our mayor at the time didn't allow it, and so the Walmart was built in our rival town. Guess which town turned into a ghost town for businesses, and which one is still known for its small mom and pop businesses? Our rival town is lucky that Snoop dog opened up a commercial growroom in the abandoned Hershey factory and provided a bunch of people jobs. He even did a concert there after it had been operating for awhile.
Their product quality and variety has also plummeted over the years. There's often only a choice of like one, maybe two different versions of an item (annoying if you need something in a specific size and style, like a say a food strainer) and they are more likely to break and just be garbage.
There are no local businesses in Hillside mall. On top of that, in case you haven't noticed it, Hillside mall is struggling a bit. Having a new anchor tenant may prolong the life of the mall, which local residents seem to rely on.
Would it be possible for new employees of the Hillside store to unionize before it opened? Make Walmart have to be a good employer, or they’re not going to be a success in our community.
I know we've an older population.. but Coroner stores seems like overkill.
Would give gold if I weren’t scraping quarters out of my futon
And as such means nothing as the Mall’s in Victoria, not Saanich. Highly doubt you’ll hear anything from Vic City Council about it...
There’s nothing a Walmart will bring to that mall that it doesn’t already have. Between Thrifty Foods, Canadian Tire, Marshall’s, and Sport Chek, I think you’ll find a lot of the same stuff.
Have you even shopped at Thrifty's? Their prices are shite.
Better prices
Even if that was true, you will find all the same stuff at more competitive prices. Competition is good for consumers.
I'm no economist but what does he mean when he wishes the space be taken up by " non-economic, but important” businesses?
I'm not an economist either but I think he might mean services as opposed to retail. So like, doctor's offices, or counselors, or daycare like he mentioned elsewhere in the article.
It explains in the article: childcare, mental health counselling, community services, etc.
Everything is economics... he means not-for-profit
Not economic business by definition isn't viable as a business. Charities work different but are also generally voluntarily funded. Then there is government lol
Right? This sounds like an oxymoron, or doublespeak. Jumbo Shrimp. Military Intelligence. Non-Economic Business.
Would have been great to get a Superstore or a Costco there.
We already have a Walmart like 5 minutes away from Hillside. (And I already refuse to shop there.) A second location is redundant when we could have something useful there instead.
Nice to know there are others who won't go there.
Now I won't have to drive that additional 2.5 minutes to the other Walmart at Uptown!
This is the part that drives me crazy. Can the people who shop at Walmart not drive the five extra km to uptown to shop at the gigantic Walmart that’s already there?
Agreed Walmart is a horrible store full of shit sub par items.
Feel free to correct me here.
De Vries seems to be all about sustainability and transitioning from cars, but I see nothing from him that advocates for the most obvious, fundamental factor that enables walkability and spurs smaller grocers over big box stores - density.
There's a demand for Walmart because people are slave to cars and figure the drive is worth the lower prices. But how can you break free if there literally isn't housing for people to live within walking, biking or busing distance of their destinations? The more sparsely populated a neighborhood, the wider the radius a business must cater to and therefore the higher likelihood it will need to rely on a car-driven customer base to succeed.
Most of Saanich is full blown suburbia - for fucks sake, uVic is surrounded by big ass single-family lots (and "semi-rural" Cadboro Bay, as its proud residents position the neighborhood) despite hosting dozens of thousands of students and workers. Big box shopping is essential because the city isn't structured or inhabited enough to be walkable. If De Vries isn't willing to challenge the way people live in Saanich, then his tirades against cars and big box stores ring hollow. And this isn't a "haha no True Scotsman" thing - take away Walmart Hillside and people will simply pile up at Uptown. And if they take that away too they will join in the chaos in Costco /Superstore/Walmart in Langford. Because you can't expect local affordable grocers to pop up when there literally isn't a nearby customer base to prop it up. So to speak, you can't expect an Oxford Food in every Saanich neighborhood if there wasn't Walmart or any other chain supermarket/big box.
Half the article is about exactly what you're talking about:
Huh, isn't that basically what he's saying in the article?
Just because he doesn't offer any solutions here doesn't mean Walmart is the answer... Walmart just makes the situation you describe worse.
Almost all of the current tenants in the mall offer most of what a Walmart sell and are franchisees, so most are in fact local small businesses that keep most of the income local. In fact, I can't think of a tenant that is corporate owned... maybe the Starbucks? I guess the Thrifty Foods is corporate owned by Sobeys, but at least Sobeys is Canadian.
It's been studied to death just how bad Walmarts are for communities and make them barren of good local walk-able business Hillside is in fact surrounded by high desity housing and has very good transit connections, you definately don't need a car to get to it
This also is not just a theory anymore, it's proven fact that Walmart will come in, target specific products their local competitor sells... then sell the same of similar for less until the other business becomes unsustainable. Then they raise the price back up once the competition is gone.
The problem is, that the profits are not kept local, they pay their staff shit money and all the profits leave the area. The smaller local and franshise stores, sell for prices that are a little higher because the owners need to make a living... they themselves then spend that money here in the community. They also pay their staff higher wages, who can then afford to also spend some of the money in the community. This is how the redistribution of wealth is supposed to work. By supporting corporations like Walmart you participate in the ruin of your own community... all to save a $1 on toilet paper... it's not worth it.
Pretty sure he's approved new housing and things like that to encourage density
i think he is correct in his philosophy but wrong in the specifics
hillside mall is valuable retail property and as such provides tax revenue and employment
government and social service offices are best located on real estate that is less expensive and even less desirable from a retail point of view
which does not mean it will be undesirable for other purposes such as the kind of social services he suggests
also, he is ignoring the issue of perhaps the coming apocalypse of ALL retail, large and small by online seller
he may well get his mall space in the end ...
If physical retail is truly going extinct then maybe all the more reason to plan something other than retail for these areas? As we will have to replace it down the road anyway?
Is it still valuable if it took them so long to find someone to fill it?
Never heard the term "non -economic business" before I read this article. I agree with the guy that I dont want a walmart to replace the Sears, but for different reasons.
I think it's pretty shocking that we only have one national discount department store chain in all of Canada!
It's either Walmart or nothing.
Giant Tiger, but I'm not sure its in BC yet.
We had Target but we all know how that turned out. We had future shop but they went belly-up but they weren't really discount.
There's Fields, but they don't really have any stores in Victoria as far as I know. They are everywhere else though.
I'm one of the people who won't shop at Walmart. Haven't been there in years
Costco might be a better option.
too small. It's a tough spot to sell for sure. I think an IKEA where they don't have the warehouse, but you can see the showrooms and pick up orders would be cool. Not likely, but my ideal.
That parking lot already sucks ass.
This. Why is it that every mall parking lot is so horrible? Massive 4 way intersections so wide that no one can agree on who goes first. Put in a goddamn roundabout if you're going to take that much space and it would be so much more efficient.
Imagine the traffic on Hillside/North Dairy and that little side street on the other side.
To be fair, the parking lot outside the vacant old Sears part is currently usually completely empty.
A Saanich councillor is upset about a department store replacing another department store in the City of Victoria. Perhaps he should start advocating for amalgamation so he actually has a voice on another municipality's land use.
He said he was aware the store would be in Victoria but would be frequented by Saanich residents as it is so close.
Though this is a pretty good case study for amalgamation and how a lack of widespread municipal planning is really holding us back on the South Island
I 100% think we should amalgamate. Its crazy what we have here.
But North Dairy road is literally the boundary of Saanich and Victoria. 2 of the 4 roads surrounding Hillside are in Saanich so I think he's pretty justified in commenting on this particular mall. He notes he's aware his voice doesn't have actual merit, but hopefully Victoria Councillors see it and take it into account.
If Walmart is a problem, regulate the practices that make them a problem.
Wal mart needs a union. More than any employer.
Flip side to this argument is that Wal-Mart will be a strong anchor for a mall that has been struggling to populate its stores. Almost the entire hallway between Marshall's and the old Sears entrance has been largely vacant for a long time. Traffic drives exposure for new unique and interesting stores.
Personally not a huge fan of Wal-Mart, but I'm struggling to come up with a list of stores already at Hillside that it will butt heads with. Maybe the quilts store and the as seen on tv place, but everything else is either fashion, high end specialty, or niche discount.
Finally, maybe the Wal-Mart will encourage the disappointing Hillside Canadian Tire to up its game.
Wal-Mart ethics aside, this could be a very positive thing for the mall in general.
it'll strangle thriftys for sure.
It's the Mall's business to decide what tenants they want in their facility, not a Saanich councillor's or anyone else's.
If he want's those services to take up that tenant space, then those services simply needed to outbid Walmart for that space. Or does he expect Hillside Mall to run a charity?
It's a councillors business to think about the space they want their population to exist in.
And it's my business if I want to give them a hard time about it, what's your point?
Is Hillside Mall in Saanich or Victoria?
Anybody want to go down and post unionization flyers around the mall?
Agreed. Plz no more Walmarts. 🤢
Victoria already has a Walmart
Technically it doesn't.
Amazon is shutting down stores faster than Walmart.
I mean... probably. Does Amazon being more successful at crushing small business mean that we should support Walmart so it can also crush small business?
I find it odd that Hillside would let in a new anchor tenant that competes directly with its other anchor tenants.
Zac de Vries really needs to understand how expensive the cost of living is in Victoria, and how Walmart helps many families. Maybe he should run for Victoria city council as well???
There's also a local cost to having a Walmart. Most of the profits are moved off-site, and they are one of the worst employers in North America.
There will always be soul destroying minimum wage jobs, but adding a Walmart means there will be more people at the poverty line with no room for growth. if they do put one there they should put provisions on it so the employees at least have some outs.
No more Mal Warts please.
Saanich councillor is clearly in the wrong business
the business of giving a shit about the world they live in?