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Thursday, March 3, 2011

7-Eleven "Oh thank heaven"

On Monday February 14th, Valentines Day, the proponents for a 7/11 at the corners of Nicol & Milton came before council, Council Agenda 7-11 pages 107 – 118 to have their development permit approved by council.

Recognizing that they were proposing the 7/11 be a 24/7 operation, efforts were made by SECA directors, Douglas Hardie and !, to inform council that SECA had proposed, through a letter to city staff on April 13 2010, not having the store open 24hrs and that until we heard about the development comming before council on the 24th had had no contact since that initial meeting almost a year ago.

Flash back to April 2010 when the proponents for the 7/11 had come to the SECA General meeting with their proposed development. The general consensus was that we thought the proposed 7/11 could be an asset in the community. The layout was quite pleasing and the fact that a suite would be built above the store also appealed to members. It was also recognized by many at the meeting that when a 7/11 had been in operation on that very site in the past it had become a “focal point of loitering and disorder associated with mental health and addiction issues in the neighbourhood (quote from letter to city staff).”

As this had been a sensitive issue in the past our primary concerns were:
1). 24/7 operation
2). the possibility of a payphone being placed outside of the 7/11.

In the letter to city staff it was also stated that we looked forward to further discussion.

Flash forward to Monday’s Council meeting on the 14th. No further discussion had happened with the 7/11 proponent and they were proposing 24/7 operation. Due to our concerns expressed by phone and e-mail prior to the council meeting council decided to recommend that the proponent, city staff and SECA meet to further discuss the issue with the outcome of the discussion to come to the following council meeting.

From discussion at the council meeting it would appear that the easiest way to accomplish the non 24/7 operations would be to have been for the proponent to agree voluntarily. The reason for this being that otherwise a bylaw would have to be written that would not allow any 24/7 retail operations in the area.

A meeting was set for February 24th with 7/11, a couple of SECA Directors, City Staff and a representative of the Nob Hill group, whom we invited as they who would also be directly impacted. The Nob Hill group had never until then been invited to give feedback.

At the meeting on the 24th we made no real headway in getting the proponents for 7-Eleven to look at voluntarily reducing their hours. In fact what they did say was that if it couldn't be 24/7 then it wouldn't happen. At the meeting on the 25th Ken Ridell stated that we were projecting what might happen. I say that past experience speaks volumes and that it is more a concern of history repeating itself than that of projection.

And so we come to the Feb. 28th Council meeting, Feb 28, 2011 Council Meeting Video , at which both Douglas Hardie & I appeared as delegations. Council did decide our concerns have merit and as such have asked City Staff to look at acreating a bylaw for the area that would restrict retail service hours, this will in no way affect restaurants. Council also, at the meeting, approved the development permit variances which would allow Ken Ridell and 7-Eleven to start building if they so choose.

Since Mondays council meeting we have heard nothing more about the development.

News Story's:

March 3
Editorial: Store proposal worth discussion
March 2
Debate over 24 hour openings not new
March 1
South End unhappy with proposed 24 hr store

Daily News
March 2
Neighbours feel snubbed by 7-Eleven silence over proposed store
March 1
New 7-Eleven ok'd but may not be able to open 24hrs
Feb 25
Neighbours fear 24-hour store will defeat efforts

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