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Ladner businesses want more money from film companies
Ladner business owners want better compensation if movie crews are going to continue disrupting businesses by filming in the village.
That was the message passed along to Arvind Sharma of the Corporation of Delta during the Ladner Business Association’s (LBA) weekly meeting last Thursday. Sharma said the communication process between movie crews and businesses needs to be more effective so that merchants have time to prepare for disruptions.
In the past 21 months there have been seven television and movie productions shot in Ladner, including Supernatural, Fairly Odd Christmas, Killer Among Us, Psycho 7, Jinxed, and most recently the A&E drama Bates Motel. An eighth film called Fairly Odd Summer was scheduled for shooting from Tuesday to Thursday this past week.
“The most I’ve ever been compensated is $500,” said Beth Stuart, who runs a chartered accountant business in the village.
Stuart said she supports the film industry and even has family who work in movies, but is concerned about the disruption to businesses that she’s witnessed.
The issue came to a head two weeks ago when local lawyer Murray Lott held a one-man protest by draping a “Ladner, B.C.” banner around his office building, claiming nobody compensated him for using his building in the shot.
Lott said the $500 that movies are giving the LBA in compensation isn’t enough and needs to be raised significantly. He threatened to put his sign back up when the next film crew comes to town if that doesn’t happen.
Bill McKnight of South Coast Casuals is the LBA’s liaison in dealing with location managers. He said filming has contributed $25,000 to local businesses since Sept. 2001. McKnight said the sudden surge of filming in the past year is an uptick after relatively little filming in the past three. But he said most production companies will compensate businesses if their accountant shows them lost revenue for the days they were shooting.
Some business owners, however, said the cost of the accountant would probably offset the compensation.
James Price of Ladner Village Hardware said the film crews have a positive effect on local retailers and restaurants.
“Most times that they’re filming in Ladner I’m seeing extra dollars or being compensated for the people who can’t be bothered to walk the block or two to the store,” he said. Many people from Ladner also receive money by working as movie extras, and they shop and eat in the village when they’re not on set.
Janet Holmes of Lawlor Goldsmith Shoppe said she has cooperated with movies crews and was surprised to see many of them were local.
“Yes, it affected my business regularly to a certain extent but it also affected me in a positive way because some of those people came back,” she said, adding it’s about keeping a positive mental attitude.
Numerous suggestions were made to improve relations with film crews, including Delta hiring a full-time liaison like the City of Richmond. Crews should also be more helpful in redirecting pedestrian and vehicular traffic when they’ve cordoned off an area. One suggestion was made that there should be special parking fees, since Delta doesn’t have paid parking like other municipalities.
There was also talk of limiting the number of movie permits in Ladner to one every four months.
Murray Lott suggested every film should pay into a community fund with an amount based on the overall size of their budget.
The next movie scheduled to shoot in Ladner is on Dec. 16.