Ladner Village businesses irked by filming boom

Delta mayor says city will likely increase permit fees and create new liaison to help merchants

By Maryse Zeidler, CBC News

A filming boom in a quaint corner of Delta, B.C. is leading some local merchants to complain about shoddy treatment from film crews and fewer sales due to closed roads and parking lots.

Ladner Village has been the site of several recent film, TV and advertising shoots, including the series Supernatural and the film Fifty Shades of Grey.

Some crews kind of just run in the door, slip you a piece of paper and say, ‘Hey we’re filming here, this is what we’re doing,’ not really any compensation or anything like that,” said Jens Cuthbert, an employee at Stillwater Sports in the village.

Other businesses in the area have also complained about street closures in front of their storefronts and a lack of parking, both leading to customers unable to come in for business.

Cuthbert agreed it can be a nuissance.

“When we get film crews coming in, it kind of shuts down the parking lots out here,” he said. “Local traffic can’t really get through.”

Jackey Zellweger, President of the Ladner Village Business Association, said the relationship between film crews and merchants has mostly been positive, but there have been a few hiccups.

She said she thinks it’s because of the recent spike in filming activity.

“It’s been increased so much in the past year. There’s been a lot more filming in the village, so of course a lot more concerns,” she said.

Lucrative industry for Delta

The mayor of Delta, Lois Jackson, said although she understands the businesses’ complaints, she’s hesitant to stanch the flow of income from the lucrative industry.

“The film companies normally spend about $50,000 a day … in Ladner and the area,” she said.

“We don’t want to gouge the film companies. They’re doing a great job and we’d like to keep them here.”

To satisfy the needs of local businesses and crews alike, the mayor said the Corporation of Delta will likely create a new position to act as a liaison between the two.

The corporation is also considering increasing the cost of filming permits from $100 to $500.

Province-wide filming boom

The growth in filming activity in Ladner is part of a province-wide boomspurred by the low Canadian dollar.

Major Hollywood studios have been heading to Hollywood North to keep costs down.

Earlier this spring in Vancouver, the film industry was operating at near-capacity with up to 40 big projects including the action movie Deadpool filming in the city last month.

Roughly 127,000 Canadians earn their living in the $6-billion film industry, and 2015 is expected to eclipse that figure.

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