We don't need more retail

It appears that both city hall and the developers have not woken up to the new reality: we do not need any more retail space in the city. In fact we do not need much of what we already have.

I was in retail for 25 years and I thank god everyday that I am no longer. The writing has been on the wall for years now, Amazon and Ebay have changed the way many people shop, even existing bricks and mortar stores have established an online sales platform.  Remember the days when there was never any empty space in the mall? Now there are lots of empty spaces, and they won't be getting filled any time soon.

Pick up a newspaper or read online nearly any day, and there will be a story of another well known retailer filing for bankruptcy. Now to make matters worse we have the great pandemic, forcing many businesses to close, and we know that a lot of the smaller stores will not be returning.  That means empty units in established shopping areas like downtown, Pandosy, Rutland and everywhere else.

This seems to have escaped the notice of our leaders who continue to issue building permits for blocks of condos with a default setting of retail in the ground floor units. Who do they imagine is going to occupy it? 

The latest proposal for 3340 Lakeshore Road includes retail. Perhaps before they go ahead with this they should wander across the street to a well known drug mart. If you like to shop in quiet places then this is the place to go. The only times I have been there, the customers are outnumbered by staff.

Look at the big development on Clement, yet more retail units. I thought the city was supposed to be encouraging people to get out of their cars, and yet here is a development that 99% of the population will have to drive to get to, brilliant. There is absolutely no walk-by traffic in that area.

We reached peak retail about 15 years ago, subsequent events including two recessions have changed the picture. Instead of building more retail the city should support existing retailers who have paid their property taxes and need to have more traffic, not less, walking through their doors.

Peter Emery, Kelowna

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