Cactus Club’s takeover of English Bay concession gets park board approval

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      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.




      Mar 23, 2010 at 7:42pm

      Amost 41 years ago on a sultry summer evening around 2am I was walking along the beach directly in front of the old wooden concession shack...about a hundred feet out....when I saw a rather large "flower child" in a flowing moomoo, that looked like something a Friar Tuck type on acid might wear, firebomb the building. I was doing research at that very moment on the effects of consuming opium and psilocybin so I did what any self respecting researcher might do...I retreated to watch from a safe distance.

      A big flashy pseudo yuppie magnet on "hallowed ground" eh?

      What's next...clear cut Stanley Park and build more high rise yuppie death traps?


      pretty wreckless

      Mar 23, 2010 at 9:23pm

      Fuck, that's depressing.
      So no more concession where you can easily bring a cart of french fries or kool-aid to your beach blanket? Sounds like the only commercially untouched beach is going to be wreck, which is fine but...


      Mar 24, 2010 at 12:43am

      Ugh, how disappointing.

      stock boy

      Mar 24, 2010 at 2:57am

      its about time iam going to enjoy a nice hot choclate in the winter when its raining cats and dogs outside. ps its not a mcdonlds.

      stock boy

      Mar 24, 2010 at 3:11am

      bravo but lets keep the too go prices down for a 8 dollar a hr man so i can afford to buy my girl friend fish and chips.


      Mar 24, 2010 at 11:27am

      i miss our old socialist ways.

      moe heato

      Mar 24, 2010 at 1:41pm

      great news. the city of vancouver should not be permitted to use its monopoly position to unfairly compete in the private sector food servces business and sell low quality food. watermark at Kits works well. All the negative comments will come from CUPE slackers,


      Mar 24, 2010 at 2:26pm

      our parks board has let us down. this sets a precedent that will no doubt see more chain restaurants and the like take over our beaches and parks. i get there is some truth to the"we need the money to keep up other services" argument, but some things are sacred, no?

      hard on pete

      Mar 24, 2010 at 2:33pm

      hey pretty wreckless that food at the concession stands was not eatable and did you not know theirs going to be a to go window and a patio and its about time.


      Mar 24, 2010 at 3:39pm

      While it is not surprising that Vision is laying down in the Corporate bedrooms of the City, it is shocking that COPE Park Commissioner Loretta Woodcock has joined them.
      Formerly, COPE Commissioner Spencer Herbert opposed this move of corporate branding in public spaces and actually voted against the Corporatization of our Concessions, now it appears that COPE without the leadership of Dr Fred Bass and Tim Louis is quite ready and willing to sell out their core support and supporters for a few dollars of campaign reward.

      Sad day for Vancouverites who love this City and are tiring of the tearing down of our heritage and past.

      Congrats to Green Park Commissioner Stuart MacKinnon who held true to our Green vision which opposes the corporate branding of our public spaces and which seems to be the only real vision left in our City.