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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

What Just Happened?

Published Thursday January 21, 04:35 pm
More good things that came to an end in the last two weeks

Grocery Goodbye: R.I.P. Good Food Junction

If you live in Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods you will be back in a food desert by the end of January.

The Good Food Junction announced it will be closing its doors after three years of insufficient sales and the challenges of a highly competitive marketplace. A liquidation sale has already started to sell off the merchandise and if you go to their website a really sad message states the domain name expired on Jan. 12, 2016. So, that’s for sale, too.

The Good Food Junction Co-op opened in September 2012 and there were high hopes the community-led initiative could help tackle the lack of affordable fresh food in the west side core neighbourhoods. And according to a press release on the closure, even though the co-op itself grew to over 1,800 members, not a lot of people were shopping there.

The thing is, it’s not enough to just drop fresh food in a very low-income neighbourhood with prices that are equal to other grocers. Regular Canadians spend almost 10 per cent of their disposable income on food. For someone in poverty looking to eat fresh, that number quickly jumps up.

Last year, fruits and vegetables went up in price between 9.1 and 10.1 per cent, according to the Food Institute at the University of Guelph. That study also showed the average Canadian family spent an extra $325 on food. When the choices are feeding your family with a $5 Giant Tiger pizza or going for the ever-more-expensive veggies, low income households are probably stuck with pizza.

That’s where bulk buying food programs, like the one at CHEP, come into play and savings are passed onto consumers.

The Good Food Junction recognized that their model, however well-intentioned, couldn’t supply the needs for the community. But that doesn’t mean something else couldn’t work there. The problem is, after the Junction’s short lifespan, who’s going to fund it? The private sector?

Maybe it’s time for governments to reconsider getting into the grocery store game. /Geraldine Malone

Blown Bridges: R.I.P. Traffic Bridge

It played a critical role in Saskatoon’s only maritime disaster, but now rubble from the Traffic Bridge sits around the South Saskatchewan River after the first phase of demolition began with explosions.

In 1908 the bridge, also known as Victoria Bridge, took down a 130-foot steamship called the S.S City of Medicine Hat. That was not the only time it made headlines.

In the ’90s the bridge started closing periodically because vehicles that were too heavy (rumoured to be from the City) kept driving across.

Then the biggest controversy of them all came — the decorative LED lights. In 2007, the LED lights, which cost $462,000, were strung across the bridge. The big selling point was that they could change colours and showcase the river. Unfortunately, they rarely worked and are still a major point of contention for anyone upset with a City decision.

Saskatoon will never forget those costly LED lights, even as they crashed into the river along with the southern half of the Traffic Bridge. Disgruntled citizens will likely bring up those lights throughout the construction of the new Traffic Bridge, expected to begin in late 2015.

And they certainly will remind the City of those LED lights when the massive North Commuter Parkway and Traffic Bridge project inevitably goes over budget. /Geraldine Malone

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