Store owners in Delta’s Ladner Village say filming movies and TV shows in the community is becoming bad for business, and are accusing the city of not listening to their concerns.
Crews have taken over sections of Delta Street and 48 Avenue this week to film the upcoming final season of Supernatural, which has been filming in the community and other parts of the Lower Mainland for much of its 11-season run.
The village has become something of a hotspot for film crews seeking a small-town feel for other international productions.
But businesses say they’re suffering whenever the trucks set up outside, which blocks access to storefronts and limits parking.
“If [customers] see the trucks here, they often think, ‘well, the businesses are closed,’” said Carol Miles, who owns South Delta Heels on Delta Street.
A post on the Facebook page for Flower Shop in the Village on 48 Avenue tells customers to use the back door to get inside.
Owner Corrine Johnstone says she’s gotten tired of film crews getting what she sees as preferential treatment from the city.
“We pay our taxes here, we live in the community, we support the community,” she said. “These guys can’t keep coming in here and bullying us.”
Part of the problem, according to Pets-N-Us owner Lee Lemoignan, is the city continuously grants permits to film productions without negotiating compensation for local businesses ahead of time.
He says the production companies aren’t always honest about how much of a disruption they will be.
“That’s my biggest beef with them,” he said. “They say, ‘oh, we’re not going to have any interruptions’ or ‘it’s going to be business as usual.’ Every time they walk in the door, I just cringe.
“I’m not against film. I love film. But let’s think of proper compensation, OK?”
Owners are able to fill out a loss of business compensation form, which the production company uses to calculate how much the business will receive.
But many of those same owners say the process is cumbersome, and requires additional payouts to accountants who need to sign off on the form.
Miles said she’s even been denied compensation by a different film crew in the past “because they said that my business was not seasonal.”
Cathie Friebel, owner of Muddy River Landing on 48 Avenue, says she’s only been offered $150 per day by this latest film crew.
That doesn’t cover the 90 per cent loss in business she sees when filming arrives on her block, she argues.
“It doesn’t cover my staff, it covers absolutely nothing,” she said. “We all feel they should just fairly compensate us from the start, instead of forcing us to ask after the fact.”
Friebel said she fought with film crews all day Wednesday to the point where police got involved, promising to arrest anyone who disrupts filming.
Delta police said they haven’t received any reports of disturbances at the filming location, explaining officers are often posted as security personnel.
A spokesperson added no additional reports were filed Thursday.
A request for comment from Warner Bros., the production company overseeing Supernatural, was not returned Thursday.
Delta’s city manager Sean McGill told Global News the city has not heard any complaints about the Supernatural shoot or any other film crews. McGill declined a formal interview.
But Friebel says she and other business owners have been voicing their concerns, and the city is just not listening.
“We’re the ones that help keep this show going, us and other communities,” she said. “All we want is to be respected.”
— With files from Nadia Stewart
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