British Columbia

Gold River on Vancouver Island loses only grocery store

Mayor Brad Unger used to own the Super Valu that recently closed. He says now the drive to the nearest grocery store in Campbell River, some 80 kilometres away, is going to challenge some people in town.

Nearest full-size grocery store now nearly 90 kilometres away in Campbell River

The Super Valu in Gold River, on Vancouver Island, shut down earlier in November. (Google Maps)

Shopping for food just became more difficult in the Vancouver Island community of Gold River, B.C.

The only grocery store has closed, and now people have to travel to Campbell River to buy food, almost 90 kilometres away.

Brad Unger used to own the Super Valu that recently closed — he's also mayor of the town of about 1,200.

"In the last few years, we've had a bit of a downturn in the economy, of course, in small communities," he told All Points West host Robyn Burns. "It's a whole bunch of different things."

Among those "different things," Unger says, was the loss of the in-store bank and fishing licence sales, as well as trouble with creditors.

Unger says there are a few basics available in town at a small deli, but for real groceries, Campbell River is the closest option.

And the drive to Campbell River, he says, is going to challenge some people in town. During the winter, roads get snowy and slushy, and many people don't own cars.

Unger says he hopes another entrepreneur becomes interested in opening a new grocery store soon.

"There's some feelers out there. I'm always optimistic," he said. "The community's always been a resilient community. We'll bounce back."

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Gold River on Vancouver Island loses only grocery store