Goodbye to ‘Lake Walmart’
It’s entertainment for some, a nuisance or hazard for others.
But whatever you may think of it, the “Grab your jet ski and head down to Walmart!” jokes are soon to be no more, according to Murray Cream, store manager of Campbell River Walmart.
Cream recently returned from head office in Toronto with good news for those who complain about Walmart’s parking lot, which frequently fills with huge pools of water, making much of the lot unusable for long stretches of time after seemingly any amount of precipitation whatsoever.
“Work will begin on the parking lot Jan. 28,” Cream says, “and in six weeks, the work will be complete and we won’t have these problems any more.”
Ever since the store first opened, the public has been complaining about the parking lot to whoever would listen. It has, in fact, become somewhat of a running joke in Campbell River over the years, going as far as inspiring Internet memes and online commentary about where one could participate in various water sports and outdoor recreational opportunities.
“Grab your lawn chair and fishin’ pole,” people would laugh on various Facebook pages.
Others didn’t find it so humourous.
“It is now five years since Walmart was constructed and from day one the parking lot has been getting flooded to absolutely ridiculous depths,” wrote local resident Roger Barker in an open letter to the community, published last year in the Mirror, after his wife, yet again, returned from a shopping excision soaking wet from being splashed by passing vehicles while she made her way back to her car. Barker added that he had contacted Walmart head office numerous times about the issue, never getting any more than a, “we are looking into it,” and called on the store to, “fix it and you will make a lot of customers very very happy (and dry).”
“I can’t speak to the number of complaints we receive (about the parking lot), because much of that goes through head office,” Cream says, “but I can say that it’s been something we’ve certainly been aware of. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just a ‘quick-fix’ type thing.”
Cream says although he has only been at the store for a year or so, his understanding is that the delay in addressing the problem was the amount of work needed to assess the scope of it.
“We had to bring in structural engineers and teams of people to have a look at it and figure out how to best approach the issue. It was a structural problem from when the store was built.
“It wasn’t just a backed-up drain or something that we could have just repaired.”
And when the amount of work needed to remedy the parking lot needs to happen, many factors need to be taken into consideration.
“We want to make sure it’s done right,” Cream says.
That planning is complete, however, and the work is about to begin.
“There should be no impact to our customers or associates,” Cream says about what will be a six-week endeavour to fix the parking lot. “They’re going to be doing it sections at a time, so any impact on people needing parking will be very minimal, if there’s even any at all.”
So, say goodbye to shoppers getting splashed by vehicles and trying to find a dry
parking spot after it rains.