Representatives of the supermarket chain were no-shows at a July 18 City Council discussion on project.
AVALON ― The area designated for a new Vons in Avalon continues to remain an empty lot. City officials wonder when construction will begin on a planned market expansion for Catalina Island residents and visitors.
City Manager David Jinkens extended an invitation to Vons management to attend the Avalon City Council’s July 18 meeting and provide an update on plans to move the supermarket into a new location.
Apparently no one from Vons accepted the invitation, as the supermarket’s representatives were not present at the meeting. The city did receive a written response, however, indicating a commitment to move the project forward.
“We will not be able to attend [the Avalon City Council meeting] as we work diligently to move forward with the next steps for this project,” Vons’ Public Affairs Director Jenna Watkinson wrote in an email response to Jinkens. “Vons remains committed to bringing a new store to the city of Avalon.”
Plans for consolidating the existing two Vons at the island’s only municipality into one larger store have been discussed for several years now. The Log initially reported the Planning Commissions’ approval on building a new and larger market in Nov. 2014.
Why the recent delays in building a new Vons in Avalon?
“Some of the feedback from the residents took some time to capture as we waited on response,” Watkinson explained.
Watkinson inferred recent progress has been made inching closer to a construction start date. The supermarket chain is apparently in discussions with a local homeowner’s association about resident concerns.
Watkinson also alluded to delays being caused by city’s requests and residents’ concerns.
“Please know that we are fully committed to complying with the requests for conditions of approval,” Watkinson stated. “This first step in meeting these conditions was done in a way that remained thoughtful to the city’s requests, and the concerns of the residents.
Work on the new Vons was expected to begin in April, yet the project still lingers three months later.
A date to begin building a new Vons has yet to be determined.
“It is our hope to be able to announce the ground breaking for the new store in the very near future,” Watkinson wrote in her email response to Jinkens.
Parimal M. Rohit photo