Columnist Pete McMartin went to the Tsawwassen Mills mega mall on opening day October 5 stating “The mall is alarmingly big, and its construction on what used to be prime farm land between Ladner and Tsawwassen was greeted by both loathing and eager anticipation by locals — of which I am one. Some saw it as a welcome addition to the retail landscape, which was limited, or an abomination that would forever destroy the cozy feel of their communities.”
He also stated that his wife refused to shop there, but may have been outnumbered by the consumers eager to experience the mall. The Province reports that 284,000 people went to the mall in the first six days, including 201,000 from October 5 to October 8.
Vancouver Sun columnist Douglas Todd did a double take on a “Waste of Farmland” billboard protesting the building of the Site C Dam located on Tsawwassen First Nations land. As Todd notes, “The billboard is not questioning, however, how the giant Tsawwassen Mills shopping mall has just been built on more than 1,000 acres of adjacent farmland owned by the Tsawwassen band. The billboard is instead questioning why the B.C. government is building its Site C dam on farmland in the far-away Peace River district.”
Todd summarizes that as part of the 2007 Tsawwassen First Nation Treaty with the B.C. government and others “ added 1,072 acres of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to the Tsawwassen band’s land, on which the mall, one of Canada’s biggest, has been built. The 180-store mall was constructed on Tsawwassen First Nations land by Ivanhoe Cambridge, a multi-national conglomerate based in Quebec. Members of the Tsawwassen First Nations expect the deal to be an economic boon for them. It’s always interesting how ecological values are tested when money is involved.”