English Bay Beach goers not already familiar with Cactus Club’s menu will soon be smelling the french fries following a park board vote on Monday (March 22) paving the way for the restaurant to replace the existing concession.
Commissioners voted 6-1 in favour of the move, which will see Cactus Restaurants Ltd. pay $240,000 in annual rent—plus four percent of revenue over $4 million—to the Vancouver park board, according to a staff report.
Philip Josephs, manager of revenue services for the park board, told commissioners the board will retain ownership of the building, while the private corporation will own the fixtures and furniture, and pay the estimated $5-million cost of building a new two-level eatery. The establishment will also feature a concession with cheaper takeout items.
The previous English Bay concession netted the board $63,000 in 2009, Josephs said.
“Being a Vancouver-based company, we are thrilled to have been selected by the Vancouver Park Board to operate a new restaurant at English Bay,” Richard Jaffray, president and founder of Cactus Restaurants Ltd., said in a press release.
Speaking passionately and answering every question fired at him at the park board offices on Beach Avenue, Jaffray at one point assured Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon he would not be unleashing on West Enders an establishment that was “one step above Hooters"—as Mackinnon had said, quoting an unnamed source.
Mackinnon cast the sole no vote, adding that the Vancouver Green party’s policy opposed the “corporate branding” of public space.
“We’ll be looking to Sunset, Second Beach, Locarno, and even Spanish Banks next,” Mackinnon said. “Will we be seeing a Red Lobster or an Earls or even a McDonald’s at those locations?”
Vision Vancouver park board chair Aaron Jasper spoke in opposition to the project as a member of COPE and director of the West End Residents Association three years ago. However, he said at the Monday meeting that “consultation was adequate” and his concerns about affordability had been addressed.
Vision commissioners Raj Hundal, Sarah Blyth, and Constance Barnes; COPE commissioner Loretta Woodcock; and NPA commissioner Ian Robertson also voted in favour.
Cactus Club has 20 locations in B.C. and Alberta that produce annual sales of over $115 million, according to the staff report.