A petition is calling on the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) to permanently suspend Amazon’s last-mile distribution centre, proposed for land inside Sidney’s municipal boundaries, but under the authority of VAA.
The petition, entitled Stop Amazon from Building a Warehouse in Victoria, BC, accuses the company of treating its employees poorly and predicts that the facility “will kill many small businesses on the Southern Island” while greatly increasing traffic.
“It will be a huge eyesore in the beautiful town of Sidney,” reads the petition, which had 1,850 signatories as of Tuesday morning. It also predicts the online retail giant’s arrival will have harmful effects beyond Sidney. “Amazon’s values are not aligned with the values of working people and the citizens of Victoria. We must band together and stop Amazon from establishing its oppressive ways on Vancouver Island.”
It is not clear whether VAA has authority to fulfill the demand of the petition. Amazon is a tenant of York Realty, which plans to build the structure near a residential neighbourhood on a lot bounded by Beacon Avenue West, Galaran Road and McDonald Park Road, west of the Pat Bay Highway.
Rod Hunchak, VAA’s director of business development and community relations, previously directed Black Press Media to Amazon for questions about its employer record. VAA has also promised to work with various partners on the design and construction of a roundabout at Galaran Road and Beacon Avenue to ease traffic concerns.
“VAA acknowledges that while some people may not support the development, we respect their right to express that viewpoint,” said Hunchak in a later email. “VAA has entered into a long-term lease agreement with York Realty for the development and operation of the site. VAA, York Realty and Amazon are committed to continued communication regarding the project, including during construction and into operation.”
York Realty would not comment directly on the petition, having previously declined to answer questions about the company’s relationship with Amazon. York referred to comments from company president Matt Woolsey made in mid-August following the announcement of Amazon’s arrival.
“It is our hope that, with Amazon as a sub-tenant, the new delivery station will serve as a significant economic generator for the region,” Woolsey said at the time, adding that York planned to create a “first-of-its-kind” building in Canada, while providing landscaping improvements and neighbourhood amenities. “Our goal, together with Amazon, is to continue listening to neighbours, the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council and the Town of Sidney as we buildout this project and Amazon begins operations.”
Randy Humble, Sidney’s chief administrative officer, said the municipality has no comment on the petition. Black Press Media also reached out to petition organizer Steven Adams.
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