Opinion: We can't let feds bully small business out of Granville Island

Feb 28 2022, 8:22 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Drex, Vancouver radio host and social commentator

Did you know Granville Island is run by the federal government? And did you know they’re bullying a small business out of the market?

And when I say small I mean small — it’s a newspaper stand measuring four by seven metres.

Chia-Ning Chen has owned the business, The Tuck Shop, since 2013, and her business plays a pretty important role on the Island. There’s literally no other convenience store within walking distance of the Island, so for the 2,300 plus folks that work there, it’s their lifeline to toiletries, batteries, magazines, and other miscellaneous items you’d find in such a place.

Not to mention the thousands of folks that live in condos and apartments within earshot. They’ve been going there for 20 plus years.

But according to Tom Lancaster, the GM of Granville Island, her business doesn’t fit the long-term vision of the Island. And Tom’s vision for the island? Just looking at the numbers…

She ain’t making bank, so she’s gotta go. We’ve seen this with malls for decades. If you don’t make enough profit for them to get a cut — yes, some malls take a cut — you get the boot.

As long as Chen is paying her rent, why should she ever need to leave? She’s serving a purpose in our community.

And now that community is coming to her defence. She’s started a petition to stay and tells reporters she wants around 500 signatures.

I think we can get her more signatures though…

What’s even more insulting to Chen is that her local federal MP, Hedy Fry, won’t defend her right to keep her small business. Fry told Postmedia this past week that “The Island is expanding its arts and culture and increasing the diversity of people who have shops on the Island.”

So is Fry not reading the room?  Chen is a middle-aged Asian woman and owns a business that serves a community. And she’s a single mom.  So to me, It seems that Ms. Fry has become somewhat tone-deaf to the diversity and needs of her constituents.

This should be the time for Fry to stand up to back this woman’s future. But Fry’s a Liberal “company girl” and generally goes along with 99% of what the feds wanna do.

Hedy Fry has one job — to represent the people of Vancouver Centre regardless of who’s driving the bus in Ottawa. And it seems she may have forgotten why she was originally voted in back in 1993.

It really does paint a picture that people running small businesses can’t even depend on their local MP’s for support.

According to CMHC, Chen needs to be out by April 15. In the meantime if you want to sign her petition you can do it in her store. Pick up a magazine while you are there and support her local business.

Because it’s clear Hedy Fry isn’t.

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