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Boycott Empire Company Ltd., Empire Theatres, Sobeys Inc. (related to Empire Theatres' multiplex construction plan at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa)

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The Purpose of this Petition

The purpose of this petition is to collect signatures & comments in support of a boycott of Empire Company Ltd., in opposition to the proposed development of a multiplex cinema by one of its subsidiaries, Empire Theatres Ltd., at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. 

It is the petition authors’ position that construction of the proposed complex will block an important historic view, and have a detrimental effect on the ability of nearby residents to peacefully enjoy their properties. 

 This is an important cause, and we would like to encourage you to add your signature and share this petition with others. Once enough signatures have been received in support, this petition will be submitted to Empire Company Ltd. President, Paul D. Sobey


Despite considerable public opposition, the City of Ottawa has entered into a partnership arrangement with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group to redevelop the former Central Canada Exhibition fairgrounds, also known as Lansdowne Park, located in the Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 

As part of the redevelopment scheme, Empire Theatres -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Ltd. -- has proposed construction of a multi-screen cinema complex on the north side of the Lansdowne site, running for 250 feet along Holmwood Avenue. The plans for this cinema show that it is also intended to be nearly 80 feet tall. 

As a result of this construction, the view of the Aberdeen Pavilion building -- notable as one of only a few remaining examples of 19th-century exhibition buildings built in the style of London’s Crystal Palace, and designated a national historic site -- that has been visible to the public from Holmwood Avenue and Adelaide Street for more than a century, will be lost. This will be replaced by the sight of the rear of the new multiplex, which due to its height and length, and the proximity of an adjacent building, will obscure all but a very narrow view corridor from which the public off-site might catch a glimpse of the magnificent north face of the Pavilion. 

The full view of the north face of the Aberdeen Pavilion, which had previously been visible to all, and which has long presented an especially impressive vista to those living on or passing along Holmwood and Adelaide, will now only be available to be fully seen by purchasing a ticket to the Empire Theatre complex. For all intents and purposes, we argue that this represents a privatization of the this once public view. 

Issues Underlying Boycott
There are a number of reasons why this boycott is being called: 

* the structure Empire Theatres proposes to build will almost completely obscure the historic public view of the north face of the Aberdeen Pavilion; 
* the height and length of the proposed cinema complex is such that it will significantly shadow existing properties on the opposite side of Holmwood Avenue throughout the day;
* the new cinema will generate a significant amount of new vehicular traffic, much of which will be circulating on residential streets immediately adjacent to the cinema for many hours throughout the day, and well into the night, thus increasing disruption, pollution and pedestrian danger for residents;
* and, that despite the promise that the appearance of the rear of the cinema complex will be softened by the construction of residences, it appears that there will nonetheless be at least three stories of the blank rear wall of the complex visible. This is completely incompatible with the appearance of the rest of Holmwood Avenue, and contrary to the development group’s promises that the design of the overall Lansdowne development will represent an improvement and be well-integrated into the surrounding neighbourhood. 

Action Requested of Empire Company Ltd. 
We, the undersigned, call on Empire Company Ltd. (or its subsidiary):

* to reconsider altogether its plan to open a multi-screen cinema complex at Lansdowne Park, and instead consider cancelling this project, as it is too large for the proposed site;
* or, to move it to a more appropriate location on the Lansdowne site (i.e. not immediately adjacent to nearby residences), where its negative impacts will be mitigated. 

Failing that, we call on Empire Company Ltd. (or its subsidiary):

* to enter into meaningful consultations with nearby residents to determine how it can mitigate the anticipated negative impacts of its planned development;
* to amend its plans for their proposed cinema complex at Lansdowne Park, such that its east wall is moved to the west so that more of the north face of the Aberdeen Pavilion will be visible from offsite, and more of the historic public view is preserved; and, to reduce its top height so as to reduce the obscuring of the view of the top of the Pavilion, and the amount of shadowing of existing properties on the north side of Holmwood Avenue. 

Call for Boycott 
Until such time as Empire Company Ltd. demonstrates a willingness to amend its plans so as to reduce the negative impacts on nearby residents, and to protect the historic public view of the Aberdeen Pavilion, we, the undersigned, do state that we shall cease to frequent all businesses owned and operated by Empire Theatres’ parent company, Empire Company Ltd., including:

* Empire Theatres; 
* Sobey’s grocery stores; 
* FreshCo. grocery stores; 
* IGA and IGA Extra grocery stores (Quebec); 
* Thrifty Foods grocery stores
* Foodland grocery stores

In the Ottawa area, the following real estate holdings of Crombie REIT (42.5% interest)

* Village Square Mall, Nepean; 
* Carleton Place Mews; 
* 5150 Innes Rd., Orleans; 
* Perth Mews, Perth. 

And Crombie's shopping centres and other real estate holdings elsewhere -- see map

Homes built by Genstar Development Company (40% interest). 

And any other businesses owned by Empire Company Ltd., and its subsidiaries. 

We shall also publicly encourage other members of the public to do the same and register their disapproval of this plan with company officials of the aforementioned companies. 

Please support this petition by:

(1) signing in the form provided below;
(2) sharing this petition with your immediate family and friends, and more widely to your networks via social media;
(3) immediately begin boycotting businesses owned by Empire Company Ltd.;
(4) contacting the executives of Empire Co., Empire Theatres, Sobeys, and any other Empire-owned businesses you may frequent to explain to them why you are boycotting them, and encouraging them to reconsider their plans at Lansdowne Park;
(5) report back on what you have done via email to: empirecompanyboycott@gmail.com, posting on our Facebook page, or sending us a tweet on Twitter.

Withholding collective consumer purchasing power is probably the most effective way to get this company’s attention. Your participation can let them know you are unhappy with their plans, can help inform and shape public opinion and ultimately bring about change. 

Thank you! 

Corporate Contacts 
Paul D. Sobey President & CEO
Empire Company Limited 

Stuart G. Fraser President & CEO 
Empire Theatres 

Marc Poulin President & CEO 
Sobeys Inc. 
Twitter: @sobeys 

About This Petition 
  • This petition is created for the benefit of the general public. 
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Concerned Ottawa citizens affected by this development.


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