May 22, 2015

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Use money to lure downtown grocer, committee told

A downtown residents’ group would rather city hall lure a grocery store downtown than spend money expanding the free transit shuttle route to include a major grocery store.

Richard Wilson, representing the Downtowners’ Grocery Coalition, told the public works committee this afternoon the $660,000 cost associated with expanding the free Spirit shuttle route to a major department store would be better spent on luring a grocery store downtown.

Wilson said the farmer’s market located on Graham may have been popular but he added most area residents didn’t shop there because the prices were too expensive.

Wilson said there is a 25 per cent premium on the price of grocery items sold at convenience stores and small grocery outlets in the downtown area, compared to the prices at the suburban grocery stores.

"The average Joe cannot afford these kinds of prices," Wilson said. "We need easy access to healthy foods."

Wilson said the downtown area is more than a sports and entertainment destination, adding it’s populated by seniors, students, new immigrants, the disabled and professionals who need a grocery store.

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