The Vancouver Sun Editorial Board has published an editorial today with another take on the Tsawwassen Mills Mega Mall. Under the heading “Tsawwassen Mills Mall Symbolizes First Nation’s Independence” the editorial states:
“Traffic chaos was but one of many complaints levelled against the new outlet mall before and after the opening. Early on, development opponents condemned the loss of what they believed to be arable farmland, and others raised their fists against rampant consumerism. Animal rights activists objected to the display of live fish in the aquarium and the taxidermy collection in the Bass Pro shop. Still others questioned whether the mall, in the absence of public transit and population nearby, offering retail outlets readily available at more conveniently located shopping districts, and on a road to nowhere other than the B.C. Ferries terminal and Deltaport, could be successful. And doesn’t the project seem at odds, one blog post asked, with Metro Vancouver’s goals of density and sustainability?”
The Sun’s editorial goes on to say that Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Bryce Williams called the project “reconciliation in action”, referencing the federal government’s acknowledgment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. And Shane Gottfriedson, B.C. regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations, added that what the Tsawwassen First Nation accomplished “is what every First Nation would like for themselves.”
The editorial ends by saying “Tsawwassen Mills is not just a shopping mall. It is a symbol of First Nations independence and growing economic strength. Given the significance of the project, opening just weeks after the Business Council of B.C. and the B.C. Assembly of First Nations signed a formal agreement to help lift indigenous communities out of poverty and build the province’s economy, the complaints seem almost petty.”
The full text of the editorial can be read here.
There is no doubt that this is a tremendously important venture for all the First Nations. The question is whether it is appropriate to comment on the mega mall which is contracted to a Quebec owned company and appears to have major regional impacts, including threatening the livelihood of small businesses in Ladner and Tsawwassen. Should the project be treated differently and not commented on?