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Tofino to ban all franchises


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#1 dmvictoria

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 05:49 PM

I'm sure you have heard Tofino has taken steps to ban all franchises in its area.


B.C. surf town bans all franchises
No Wal-Mart Here
Alex Keshen, National Post Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010

http://www.nationalp...html?id=2668663

The protectionist bone in my spine always gets a tingle when I hear a town or region takes these measures. Deja vu Salt Spring Island last decade.

Aside from a CIBC branch and an Esso gas station, he said Tofino businesses are independent and locally owned...

I wish he would make it clear if he means corporate franchises or individual franchises. I am assuming he means both, which means he should expand his list of franchisees in Tofino. Aside from the gas station and the bank, what about the Co-op, that is a major franchise, you could even stretch the philosophy to include places like the post office (I too could open my own post office branch if I so desired).

I think the unheard and ugly side of these protectionist statements and policies is that it is a quick way to gain brownie points with your constituents under the premise you are looking out for their best interests when you are a local politician. But, in fact the politician is only looking out for a select few local business owners who take advantage of Tofino's remote location.

Tofino is an expensive town and not just because of its remote location. Unless you go and eat at Garry's Chineese Restaurant you are going to pay an arm and a leg for even a simple meal. A lot of business owners are making an indecent amount of money for their wares and services compared to other communities. If a large franchise like McDonalds (of which I could own a franchise too if I wished) comes into the neighborhood and everybody starts spending their disposable income there instead of local establishments, then that would be a shortcoming of the local businesses. McDonalds is not an all consuming steam roller and neither is Walmart for that matter.

Mr. Ashton said he believes franchises will not only be bad for local businesses, but will ruin tourists' experience in the town. "When I travel ...I don't want to eat at a McDonald's when I'm in Venice," he said. "I want to see what the Italians eat."

I can't entirely agree with that statement. I think travelers do enjoy local fare as a change of pace, but can also appreciate staples that are comfortable and remind them of home, companies like McDonalds, Starbucks and Tim Horton's provide that.

However, I don't personally believe there needs to be a major franchise in every small town. But if there is opportunity, desire to have one and a population to support it the free market should decide it. I believe with in the rules and boundaries the land is fair game to everyone who wishes to play in the business game, its only when short sighted politicians and business owners try to unfairly tip the rules in their favour that gets my protectionist bone twitching.

All I'm saying is that there is a big whole in the philosophy of saving local businesses by banning franchises in any community, many franchises offer economic benefits to the communities they are in. Does anyone feel the same as I do?







#2 jklymak

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:50 PM

I dunno. Quite a while ago I compared Seaside Oregon to Cannon Beach Oregon. I don't know how they have done it, but Cannon Beach has no franchises that I remember and is a much classier place. Its also much smaller, and as a commentator here noted, probably does not have as bustling an economy. So, I think its up to the community. If Tofino wants quaint exclusiveness, that is a choice I think they can make.

In another thread folks were saying this is likely not legal. That maybe true, but town councils can do quite a bit to keep out certain types of stores.

#3 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 07:29 AM

It seems like they may at least be going about it the right way....

Tofino moving along in bid to ban fast-food chains

By Randy Shore, Canwest News Service
March 31, 2010 7:24


The District of Tofino is moving along in its move to block fast-food outlets.

It is drafting bylaws that would throw up a nearly insurmountable series of roadblocks to discourage franchised fast-food chains hoping to do business in Canada’s surfer playground.

The district is considering restrictions on everything from the size and illumination of signage and cookie-cutter décor to takeout packaging, carbon footprint and use of non-local ingredients, according to Chief Administrative Officer Bob Long.

In addition, the district will draft a description of “unique attributes of Tofino’s west coast culture” for the business sector that any new entry would have to adhere to, said Long.

Other tools may include extending the requirement for development permits to the town’s commercial areas and forming a design panel to vet the form and look of new development in accordance with the newly drafted guidelines. Restrictions on the size of retail space may also be included to discourage big-box stores from setting up shop.


Read more: http://www.timescolo...l#ixzz0jlhgh1Mt

#4 piltdownman

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 07:57 AM

Has anyone ever been to the "Green McDonalds" in Quebec City? They got around a ban there that targeted their signage, by using gold and green instead of their trademark Yellow and Red.

Here is some pictures

#5 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:29 AM

I haven't been to Palm Springs in a long, long, long time, but it strikes me they had all the stores/restaurants as anywhere else, but their sign bylaws were such that it all looked so much nicer.

Palm Springs McDonald's

http://www.flickr.co...rry/4165741236/



#6 Holden West

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:49 AM

If it's the visual effect that bothers people, cities around the world have forced McD's to play it low key:

http://www.flickr.co...ura/3071747044/

I saw one franchise similar to the one above but the logo was done in brass, not red and yellow, so the effect was even more subtle. Of course, this doesn't solve the other problems people have, like the banality of corporate fast food and the litter it produces.
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#7 aastra

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 09:58 AM

Some good ones here:

http://www.flickr.co...57622406186208/

I find it really informative to see how franchises like McDonald's or Starbucks will blend in if they're obligated to do so.
http://www.flickr.co...gby/3904330011/

#8 Bingo

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 09:20 PM

Good for Tofino to try to get a handle on things before it is too late. I like to think of the whole area as all part of Pacific Rim Park, even though it isn't.

#9 Mike K.

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 12:18 PM

Qualicum has a bylaw that requires all restaurants to have table servers. This indirectly bans self-serve fast food restaurants.

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#10 Lover Fighter

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 04:54 PM

I was in Sedona, AZ a couple of months ago and they have one of the rare McDonald's that have teal arches (to fit the town's colouring scheme).



#11 Bernard

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 05:07 PM

I am trying to figure out under what right they think they can do this? This strikes me as discrimination without any basis for it. It strikes me as a very actionable issue if they really are going forward in the way they are talking about. The very fact that they are admitting that they are doing it to stop certain businesses means they are doing it to discriminate against them.

If the issue is look and feel of the community, they can regulate that, but in Tofino that would harm some of the old existing businesses that look like dumps. Allowing the renewal of a business licence for business that exist and not pushing to get them to conform to the rules sets them up for more lawsuits.

If the issue is they like some businesses and not others, too bad, that is not the role of local government to decide who is allowed to operate a business and who does not. They set the standards and they have to apply those standard fairly.

You may not like fast food places, but they are popular with the public. What is wrong with letting market forces decide?

#12 LJ

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 06:32 PM

Don't municipalities have the right to determine what stores operate in their city?

I seem to recall years ago Red Hot Video wasn't allowed to open in some cities.
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#13 davek

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:27 PM

Don't municipalities have the right to determine what stores operate in their city?


Well, they may have the power, but they certainly don't have the right.

People purchased properties subject to being permitted certain uses for it. Now the government wants to unilaterally restrict those uses, devaluing those properties without compensating the owners. The value they take from the owners is given over to voters who oppose corporate/fast food, and guess which group the politicians believe will best help them get re-elected.

Some people will say that's just fine, will of the people, democracy at work, but I know theft when I see it, even when it's tarted up as "the greater good". How anybody can believe the market can't do better than this is beyond me...

#14 sebberry

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:57 PM

Didn't Vancouver (or west van, east van or something..) successfully stop a wal-mart from being built?

I think a town or city should have every right to do what it can to preserve the culture in that area.

Hmm.. come to think of it, I'd love to see a Llama themed McDonalds at Machu Picchu...

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#15 jklymak

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 07:30 AM

Well, they may have the power, but they certainly don't have the right.

People purchased properties subject to being permitted certain uses for it. Now the government wants to unilaterally restrict those uses, devaluing those properties without compensating the owners. The value they take from the owners is given over to voters who oppose corporate/fast food, and guess which group the politicians believe will best help them get re-elected.

Some people will say that's just fine, will of the people, democracy at work, but I know theft when I see it, even when it's tarted up as "the greater good". How anybody can believe the market can't do better than this is beyond me...


You have this exactly wrong. An individual landowner or two may benefit from selling to McDonalds or WalMart, but they do so at the expense of all their neighbours property values. Certain resort towns want to remain exclusive and exclusivity means you can charge a premium to owners and visitors. You don't remain exclusive if you have KFC and Jack in the Box. The community as a whole has every right to decide what quality of commerce they have, so long as it is not discriminating on the basis of race or creed.

The market may penalize the whole town for their decision - perhaps cheap in quantity is more profitable than expensive and exclusive. However, it is a decision the whole town has to make - a few individuals can't just decide they will build whatever they want on their property. That would be theft tarted up as "good business".

#16 Bingo

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 11:41 AM

Starbucks and McDonalds are the last places I would go to for a cup of coffee.

This is a thread is under Victoria and the South Island economy, so Tofino is a little out of our area. I'm sure the locals up there will make the right decision.

#17 davek

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 04:55 PM

You have this exactly wrong. An individual landowner or two may benefit from selling to McDonalds or WalMart, but they do so at the expense of all their neighbours property values.


Your premise is that McDonald's or WalMart always diminishes neighbouring property values, but that's not true. In this particular case, the neighbouring property owners have long had the ability to negotiate a contract amongst themselves to prevent fast food businesses, but they haven't done so. This suggests they feel a fast food establishment would have a positive or neutral effect on their property value, and they are right. When these properties were sold, their value was determined, in part, by what uses are permitted in adjacent properties. So the costs/benefits of having a fast-food establishment built next door were already built in to the property value, and losses and gains are minimized. Real losses in value occur when politicians, as they are doing here, unilaterally alter the contract under which a property was originally sold in order to maintain or increase their own power.

Certain resort towns want to remain exclusive and exclusivity means you can charge a premium to owners and visitors.


Exclusivity is an expensive luxury, and there is a limited demand for it in the market, so the ability to charge a premium is not a foregone conclusion. And there is no reason to believe that power-hungry politicians dependent on special interests are able to determine if exclusivity is in a town's best interest.

The community as a whole has every right to decide what quality of commerce they have, so long as it is not discriminating on the basis of race or creed.


As I said, it has the power, but not the right. Furthermore, it is a very serious error to mistake a bunch of special interests fighting over political favours as representing "the community as a whole". The will of the community is an ever-changing order that emerges from a process of peaceful, voluntary interactions, not through some of us trying to turn the guns of government against the rest of us.

... a few individuals can't just decide they will build whatever they want on their property. That would be theft tarted up as "good business".


In order to defend organized plunder by government, you have fabricated an imaginary world in which there is no government regulation of land use, people don't come to voluntary consensual agreements to protect their property, and individuals "just decide they will build whatever they want on their property." I think there is enough to discuss in the real world that I won't be debating what happens in alternate universes.

#18 jklymak

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:12 PM

In this particular case, the neighbouring property owners have long had the ability to negotiate a contract amongst themselves to prevent fast food businesses, but they haven't done so. This suggests they feel a fast food establishment would have a positive or neutral effect on their property value, and they are right.


I don't think these covenants you are talking about are very typical in Canada. People assume these things will be done by the municipal govt.

The will of the community is an ever-changing order that emerges from a process of peaceful, voluntary interactions, not through some of us trying to turn the guns of government against the rest of us.


If the people in Tofino are upset by this ban, they can lobby, protest, and elect a different council. You have an odd model in your mind that governments get away with unpopular measures and that they have no accountability. That certainly may be true in the short term, but not the long term.

In order to defend organized plunder by government, you have fabricated an imaginary world in which there is no government regulation of land use, people don't come to voluntary consensual agreements to protect their property, and individuals "just decide they will build whatever they want on their property." I think there is enough to discuss in the real world that I won't be debating what happens in alternate universes.


First, how is this plunder by the government? You say they are stealing from the current land owners, but who are they giving the plunder too?

I'm not clear what imaginary world you are referring to. Of course there is government regulation of land use, and banning franchises is just another regulation. Conversely, I have not heard of too many comprehensive consensual agreements between a whole township - thats why they formed a town in the first place: to make such arrangements.

#19 davek

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 08:09 PM

I don't think these covenants you are talking about are very typical in Canada. People assume these things will be done by the municipal govt.


Covenants are not only common, they are increasing in popularity world-wide. Robert Nelson is a good authority on the subject, whether you are talking about Business Improvement Districts, Residential Improvement Districts, or private neighbourhoods.

If the people in Tofino are upset by this ban, they can lobby, protest, and elect a different council. You have an odd model in your mind that governments get away with unpopular measures and that they have no accountability.


What you try to dismiss as an "odd model in (my) mind" is called Public Choice, fathered by Nobel laureates James Buchanan and Kenneth Arrow, as well as others. After reading their works, you may agree with me that the "odd model" is the one that thinks the accountability of facing an election every few years is superior to the immediate and focused discipline of the market. You may also come to understand that lobbying, protesting, and voting will not protect your property from politicians who can advance themselves by taking what's yours and giving it to others.

First, how is this plunder by the government? You say they are stealing from the current land owners, but who are they giving the plunder too?


The plunder goes to those who oppose fast food in Tofino, such as those who already operate restaurants (less competition), and those who are philosophically or aesthetically opposed to such operations (an environment more to their liking). It also goes to politicians who gain votes and financial support from fast food opponents.

Anyone interested in understanding more about the incentives that drive us to take turns stealing from each other will find Frederick Bastiat's short book "The Law" very illuminating. It is available online here.

#20 jklymak

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:42 AM

OK, I'm willing to learn. Suppose 85% of downtown Tofino businesses and land owners want a ban on fast food restaurants in town limits. How do they go about achieving this via covenants? Because, quite frankly, I can't see how they can do it w/o unanimous support. So again we are left with the situation where one landowner uses their land to the detriment and against the wishes of the rest of the community.

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