Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More on the No Franchise Debate

The discussion over the motion to restrict (or ban) franchises in Tofino has continued. Last Friday, village councillor Stephen Ashton was on CBC Radio's Q with the lovely Jian Gomeshi. The question of the day on the Q Blog was Should a community be able to ban retail chains and fast-food franchises?. The blog comments are worth taking a look at. As of this post, there are 136 responses most of them in favour of the idea. It's an interesting read with many good points, but I have to say I get a little disturbed at the lack of peoples' creativity when they say they won't come to a place without a Tim Horton's or a McDonalds. I think — hope — that's a lot of the reason why people DO come here. (I have the same feeling when people complain that there's nothing to do here.) You can listen via podcast by snooping around here.

Further to a few of the comments: It is unlikely that a big box store will look at Tofino. The population of the "greater west coast area" (so, Tofino, Ucluelet and the outlying First Nations' communities) is about 5000. I doubt that's enough to support a big box chain and there are lots in Port Alberni, just 1.5 hours from here. And several people mentioned jobs — where will our children work? There is no shortage of summer work here — both Daughters A and P could be working full time in the summer if they choose and ALL of their friends work. The kids who live here have it good — primarily because they have a place to live. Lack of affordable accommodation is a pressing issue as it is in many resort communities. (And, finally, I am a bit distressed when the Charter of Rights is brought up in defence of allowing franchises and chains. If people are allowed to restrict outside clotheslines as they have in one subdivision here, then surely there's a way for a community to have a say in the look of their downtown core.)

Here's an interesting take on things from the Law Times. Sounds like another good reason for keeping our Official Community Plan strong and up-to-date.

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