Ivy faces chop from store wall

Saanich councillor wants Target to keep invasive vegetation

Some of the world's best universities are covered in it.

It's been climbing up the walls of the stately Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria for decades.

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But not everyone loves ivy. In fact, the future of the ivy covering the exterior of the former Zellers store in the Tillicum Centre is in question now that U.S. retail giant Target is moving into the space.

Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff is sticking up for the invasive plant.

"They are going to cut back on the vegetation and they are going to remove the whole [of the] ivy from the wall," she said Wednesday. "This company has done significant green roofs in other jurisdictions like Chicago. I wanted them to look at a green wall, or softening that wall, as opposed to exposing it."

Target's architects told Saanich council recently that it may be possible to remove the English ivy and retain the Boston ivy, which covers the wall.

Council voted in favour of the development permit application from Target with no requirement for preserving ivy. A Target official could not be reached for comment.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard doesn't share Brownoff's ivy issues.

"I don't micro-manage the design of a retail store. I'm more interested in the big picture. And the big picture is that mall is going to get another shot in the arm."

In fact, it makes sense to Leonard to get rid of the plant.

"You want your logo to be prominent. If you're a retailer, you don't want people to drive by and say, 'I wonder what they sell behind that ivy.' "

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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