The Vanderhoof Co-op has stepped up to bring groceries to people in Fraser Lake who cannot drive out of town to buy groceries.
Super Valu, the only grocery store in Fraser Lake, closed on June 18, 2016. The closest locations for Fraser Lake residents to buy groceries are now Vanderhoof, which is 58 km away from Fraser Lake, or Burns Lake, which is 70 km away.
“That’s a terrible situation to be in, so we’re doing what we can,” said Dan O’Connor, food manager for the Vanderhoof Co-op.
The Co-op has set up a special e-mail – grocery email@example.com – to take orders from Fraser Lake customers.
Orders need to be made by 2 p.m. on Tuesdays; groceries will then be delivered at Fraser Lake’s Royal Canadian Legion on Wednesdays.
“We’re hoping to have the groceries there by 2 p.m.,” said O’Connor.
There will be a charge of $15 for each delivery, of which $5 will be donated to a basketball team in Vanderhoof.
Since this is the first week of Co-op’s delivery, O’Connor said it’s too soon to tell if this initiative will be enough to support seniors in town. He said that if the initiative is successful, the Co-op might start offering this service twice a week.
Fraser Lake Mayor Dwayne Lindstrom said Fraser Lake has well over 100 seniors and that many of them don’t drive.
“There’s going to be a gap here until someone gets something going, that’s for sure,” said Lindstrom. “We really appreciate that the Co-op is doing that; they are not trying to take business out of our town; they know that people have to eat.”
Since Fraser Lake does not own the building where Super Valu is currently located, the village does not have a say on what the building will be turned into.
“Our hands are tied,” said Lindstrom. “There are no other buildings in Fraser Lake that could be [turned into] grocery stores.”
Lindstrom said he has spoken with the owner of the building and that the owner is doing the best he can to find a replacement for Super Valu. However, Lindstrom said he doesn’t see a solution right away.
Super Valu’s parent company, Loblaw Companies Limited, said in a statement that Fraser Lake’s Super Valu closed because it had been under performing.
Fraser Lake resident Michelle Baker told Black Press last month that the prices at Fraser Lake’s Super Valu were high in comparison to grocery stores in neighbouring towns and that this encouraged many people to shop out of town.
Eighteen workers lost their jobs with the closure of Super Valu in Fraser Lake.