Mayor disappointed with grocer’s Good Friday snub

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By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun

Mayor Jim Watson says he’s “disappointed” the green grocer at Lansdowne Park broke the law by opening on Good Friday.

“I was not pleased that Whole Foods decided to just snub their nose at the provincial law,” Watson said Tuesday. “If they want to have a discussion about a tourism designation for Lansdowne, there’s a proper process to follow that through.”

Watson said he would be interested in the public’s opinion if the city was to consider a tourism designation for Lansdowne Park, making it legal for stores to open on statutory holidays.

“Until we get an application we’re not going to proactively go out and start designating areas as tourism areas,” Watson said.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, the landlord for retail at Lansdowne, is considering whether or not it will apply for tourism status.

A Whole Foods spokeswoman on the weekend said the grocer thought Lansdowne had a tourism designation. The grocery store was closed on Easter Sunday.

Watson said he’s conflicted over allowing more shopping on stat holidays in Ottawa.

“It is a divisive issue. I have been living across the street from Whole Foods (in respite care recovering from a pelvic fracture) and on that day I was out hobbling along and people were going in and out of it with great numbers,” Watson said. “On the one hand there’s consumer demand that want it, but on the other hand there’s the fairness to the employees and the other businesses that didn’t open and followed the law.”

Capital Coun. David Chernushenko said any discussion about giving Lansdowne tourism status must also include the larger Glebe business area.

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Twitter: @JonathanWilling

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