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Ladner business owners annoyed by filming
Ladner has become a popular film location for movie crews this summer, but some local businesses are fed up with the hassle.
Local lawyer Murray Lott held a one-man protest last Wednesday when he wrapped his Delta Street office with a highly visible banner that included the words “Ladner, B.C.” and Canadian flags.
The banner was aimed to disrupt film crews shooting an A&E TV drama series called Bates Motel, mainly because he feels they were causing a disturbance to his business without compensating him.
Lott said his clients tend to be seniors seeking help and refuge and they shouldn’t have to be turned away just because the cameras are rolling.
“They have to run a gauntlet of police and beefy security guards and scruffy film crews,” he said.
Clients who are in distress are seeking a tranquil place to confide their problems and it doesn’t help that they can hear gunfire outside from the movie set, said Lott. His staff have also reported problems of getting in and out of the office on errands, often being told to wait so they don’t walk into the shot.
“Beautiful downtown Ladner gets used for a lot of movie shoots and I don’t think it’s used very respectfully and I don’t think that the benefits are worth the cost, frankly,” he said.
Although some businesses directly involved in the filming are compensated, not all are receiving money. Lott said the solution might be some form of group compensation or community amenity contribution.
Carol Miles, president of South Delta Heels, said although her business isn’t on Delta Street her customers are still affected by the filming.
“What I don’t like is that by the time they come and tell you that there’s going to be a movie made the deal’s already done,” she said. “All the permits and licenses are paid, the paperwork has been done, and even if I wanted to say them, you know, go pound sand, I can’t.”
Miles said whenever a customer can’t get into her store it hurts her bottom line and the movie crews create traffic and parking problems.
“City hall doesn’t care because they’ve already got their money,” she said.
Miles said that although the production company will accept compensation claims from businesses, it’s a lot of paperwork and has to be submitted by a chartered accountant.
The Ladner Business Association is supposed to liaise with the Corporation of Delta for upcoming location shots in order to give businesses advance notice, but Miles said that hasn’t happened.
“You know where the filming is going to be so you should know certain businesses who really will take a hit, and don’t discount them just because they’re around the corner,” she said. “Because they take a hit, too. We bleed.”
Miles said the four-day shooting of Nickelodeon’s Jinxed in June was so bad that she considered sending her employees home and closing up shop.
Arvind Sharma of the Corporation’s engineering department handles film applications and said he hasn’t received any complaints from business owners. But he said he will work with the LBA on addressing any concerns that haven’t been brought to his attention.
He said one accountant called him last week to say she had a truck arriving to shred documents and it would conflict with filming. So he worked with the film’s location manager to make sure crews did not block the truck.
Sharma said he requires the location manager to speak to businesses that will be in the area of the shooting, but it’s up to the film company to decide which businesses should be offered compensated if they are directly impacted.
Part of the reason some business owners are upset may be the frequency of disruption this summer. Sharma said that although Ladner has received three film applications recently, it’s more common to go nine months between shooting.
“It’s one of those things that you can never judge or plan for,” he said.