Lerner slams winery’s restaurant in ALR

This post was provided by Richmond’s Anne Lerner as a guest blog in response to the previous post on the issue of the oversized restaurant that Lulu Island Winery, in contravention of the regulations of both the Agricultural Land Reserve and the City of Richmond, wants to use for China House during the Olympics. Besides sending this to the Garden City Lands Coalition, Anne Lerner sent it to the mayor and council of Richmond.

The answer to the large Lulu Island Winery restaurant on ALR Land must be No, immediately.

Council’s responsibility is to the city of Richmond’s best interest, not to the interests of one sly business. I’m counting on council to show backbone on this.

Their plea of ignorance is implausible.  They didn’t present their plan to the city until the last minute, forcing council to make an imprudent decision under pressure. (This “last-minute, time-limited pressure” ploy is used by lawyers in sophisticated law suits and business dealings.) They also presented it after the fact, having built the structure and quickly held an event to see if it would slip past the authorities.  Fortunately, the event came to the public’s attention because it caused many (unhoped for) problems.  This was a preview for the city of the damage that would result if the city’s well-thought-out regulation was ignored.

Any business sophisticated enough to employ a “marketing and development manager” is sophisticated enough to have planned this ploy of ignorance.  To initiate the winery business at this location required thorough research regarding all legal criteria prior to their investment.

The marketing manager’s quote, “too good an opportunity for the city to miss,” is pure bunk!  They are hoping to convince the city. The Olympics lasts two weeks.  The damage to the land will be permanent. This is no opportunity for the city, only an opportunity for the winery to start their hospitality/events business on a large scale.  It is already advertising its facility for lease for larger crowds than the law allows.

They knew how important the Olympics are to Richmond’s self-image.  They purposely offered to host the Chinese Olympics group prior to researching the regulations and necessary permits.  They didn’t reveal their plan and hoped to slip the construction and event past the council. 

OR, if the city became aware: They counted on the city making an exception for them in order to  save face with the Chinese/International community.  Their statement that the games are 56 days away shows their ploy was to put the city under the gun at the last minute so that they would be forced to approve this plan. 

Don’t fall for this. Rules were created to benefit the whole community, even if they inconvenience one business.  One unnecessary exception is a precedent.  There will be huge legal costs to Richmond to fight all future demands (using this precedent) to bend this rule. The food and beverage facility limit must be kept at the allowable 107 square metres.

There are other facilities available in Richmond for the use of the China contingent.  Don’t believe Lulu Winery’s contention that Richmond will lose out. Richmond can only gain by denying this request and opening up the opportunity to other venues with the appropriate facilities.

Re “Land rules stun winery,” Richmond News, Dec. 18:

1. The quote from the winery’s marketing manager regarding the problem crowd at the first reception/party held there shows that they were aware that limits were in effect on the number of attendees: “The problem was that people didn’t leave the open house as expected.  They were supposed to be coming and going.  They weren’t all supposed to stay.”

2.  Ted Townsend, City of Richmond spokesman, is quoted: “We hope to still have China House in Richmond and will be doing everything we can do to make that happen . . . hoping to work with everyone to make this happen.”  Sounds like he’s guaranteeing the winery will get its way.  He should be guaranteeing Richmond that he will be looking out for the city’s interest. Whose interests is he representing?

3.  The insinuation by the Lulu Island Winery spokesperson that denying their location (that she unwisely promised) to the Chinese delegation will damage the relationship between the City of Richmond and the country of China is offensive.  Richmond has a longstanding, ongoing, strong connection with China.  The location of the hospitality base for their Olympic participants will not have any impact at all on this.  The only relationship that could be damaged by denying the winery their request is that between the winery and the Chinese delegation.  They had no authority to make that offer to the delegation.

There are other facilities available in Richmond for the use of the China contingent.  Don’t believe Lulu Winery’s contention that Richmond will lose out.  Richmond can only gain by denying this request and opening up the opportunity to other venues with the appropriate facilities.

Note: The Richmond Review still has an online poll on this issue. The Yes-NO percentage is 40:60, with the majority voting NO. Anne Lerner urges you to vote NO.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s