Tag Archives: Marché-Central

Shopping centre double pop quiz

Shopping centre

The owner of this giant parking lot revently announced measures to become more environmentally-friendly. What did it decide to do?

  1. Remove 100 of its 4,000 parking spaces to add trees and other greenery
  2. Require its buildings to abide by strict environmental standards and ban the use of air conditioners with open doors
  3. Add bicycle lanes to its roads
  4. Partially subsidize an STM bus that would stop inside the shopping centre and take shoppers to the metro
  5. Install recycling bins at street corners and at store entrances
  6. Give away some plants, encourage some merchants to take used batteries and run some composting workshops

Shopping centre

What was taking place when these pictures were taken?

  1. A bankruptcy sale of a major retailer
  2. A sidewalk sale
  3. An evacuation
  4. Family day

Marché Central sidewalk sale

UPDATE: So those are the answers.

Marché Central, the neighbourhood of parking lots and strip malls that represent just about everything environmentalists hate, is trying again to present itself as environmentally-friendly. For their greenwashing efforts, they got a no-questions-asked press-release-as-news article in the Courrier Bordeaux-Cartierville. (It’s also unclear if their used battery plan was dependent on Eco-Centres, who have decided to no longer accept them from retailers.)

And they organized a sidewalk sale that few merchants participated in (even then it amounted to putting a rack of clothes outside and having a very bored sales rep sitting guard outside).

There are plenty of very big ways that Marché Central could reduce its environmental footprint, most of which involve discouraging car travel and excess energy consumption by retailers. But those measures would cause a revolt by the retailers and might affect their bottom line.

Marché Central believes in environmentalism, but not enough to pay for it.

Marché Central is an environmental disaster

In an example of corporate chutzpah the likes of which I’ve never seen, Marché Central, the awful strip mall just above the Acadie Circle, is touting its environmental-friendliness by installing 25 recycling bins in its massive parking lots. It’s also distributed recycling bins to its stores, which means that its stores will be allowed to recycle for the first time.

Why do I think this is insane? Look at a map of the mall (click to embiggen):

Marché Central map

The red areas (which represent just about everything but the buildings) are parking lots and roads. The green areas (which are just about invisible) represent foliage (trees, grass), which fill spaces that they haven’t figured out a way to park a car in yet.

It gets worse. Besides enough space to park 4,000 cars simultaneously (600 of which are underground), the giant strip mall from hell has absolutely no provisions for pedestrians. Traffic lights have no pedestrian crosswalks. Sidewalks abruptly end forcing people to walk through parking lots. The closest bus comes only every half hour, and it doesn’t enter the mall. There are no bike paths anywhere on or near mall grounds, and very little bike parking space.

So you’ll forgive me if statements like this make me laugh:

«Ici, l’environnement, c’est devenu une priorité. Maintenant, quand le temps est venu de faire une dépense, on essaie toujours de trouver un moyen de réduire nos dépenses en énergie. C’est important de trouver des façons écologiques de gérer nos activités», précise de son côté le directeur-adjoint, Raymond St-Jacques.

«Ce projet est un bel exemple de responsabilité sociale et un effort important pour l’environnement, de dire la mairesse de l’arrondissement d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Marie-Andrée Beaudoin. Nous les félicitons et il nous fait grand plaisir de soutenir ce projet par la cueillette des matières recyclables sur le site-même du Marché Central.»

Reading further, you get the real reason behind this move (which, of course, should have been done years ago):

D’ici peu, le mégacentre commercial aimerait obtenir la désignation environnementale Go Green, une certification canadienne remise aux établissements commerciaux qui réduisent leurs dépenses en eau, en électricité et autres, afin d’innover et d’améliorer leurs pratiques environnementales.

In other words, it’s a B.S. PR stunt designed to get a B.S. corporate “green” certification that doesn’t mean anything, and convince the yuppie SUV drivers that by putting a used water bottle into a green bin they’re doing their part for the environment.

Shutting Marché Central down would do the environment far better than any PR stunt they can think of.

And shame on “journalist” Philippe Boisvert and Courrier Bordeaux-Cartierville for allowing a company to fool them so easily with smoke and mirrors.

UPDATE: Chris DeWolf agrees with me.

Krispy Kreme forgot location, location, location

On Friday, Krispy Kreme closed its only location in Montreal, at Marché Central, giving its 50 employees only a few days’ notice that they would be losing their jobs.

While some herald the closing as a victory for healthy eating, and others are pointing out that it’s part of a larger restructuring, I think there’s a simpler explanation for the location’s failure:

It was built in the most pedestrial-unfriendly location for a store on the Island of Montreal.

Marché Central is one of the last great car malls in the centre of the city. Just above the Acadie Circle, the mall is barely accessible by public transit, has streets with no sidewalks, traffic lights with no provisions for pedestrians, and huge parking lots separating its buildings.

While this style works for Loblaws, Wal-Mart and Réno Dépôt, fresh Krispy Kreme is something that would appeal more to walk-in traffic downtown than a semi-suburban strip mall.

Open a location downtown, or at somewhere people walk a lot, and those donuts will sell like … hotcakes.

Those of you who want your fix can find Krispy Kreme locations at Carrefour Laval and on Auguste Ave. in Greenfield Park.