VANCOUVER: City’s ghostly Punjabi market reflects demographic shift
Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe said if elected his NPA Vancouver government would help revitalize shuttered stretch of Main Street that has declined under mayor Gregor Robertson.
VANCOUVER – Although there aren’t many Indo-Canadians left in Vancouver and thus the decline of the once thriving Punjabi market in Vancouver but the upstart NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe is making the South Vancouver market which has become a ghost town of shuttered businesses, a key election issue, hoping to win whatever Indo-Canadian-South Asian votes left in Vancouver.
“The Vision Vancouver machine has failed this area,” LaPointe said last week while touring the area.
Jay Jagpal, NPA Park Board Commissioner candidate, lives in the Punjabi Market area. His family’s South Vancouver roots extend to 1971.
Speaking in Punjabi in a video release, Jagpal said: “this neighbourhood needs a government that is directly connected to it and cares about it, and that’s the change the NPA is offering.”
The stretch of Main Street between 48th and 51st Avenue once boasted a variety of retail outlets, restaurants and other South Asian cultural offerings. It is now a strip of empty stores, their windows papered over and displaying “Closed” signs.
An example of the City’s neglect of the struggling community is the India Gate that was to be finished for the 2010 Olympics. The City supported the construction of the project. It was never built.
Mayor Robertson has done nothing to develop plans that would market the area and help restore it to its former vibrancy, says LaPointe.
“When neighbourhoods face tough times, their civic government must step in, build a new plan to support them and help resolve the issue,” says LaPointe. “Mayor Robertson has not done this. But I will.”