Walmart arrives at Bayshore Shopping Centre — and leaves Lincoln Fields behind

The U.S. big box retailer is shaking up west Ottawa's shopping scene, and not everyone's happy.

Not everyone happy about relocation to larger Bayshore mall

Keith Thompson shopped at the now-closed Walmart at the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre. Walmart held its official opening for its new supercentre at the nearby Bayshore Shopping Centre on Saturday. (Emily Ridlington/CBC Ottawa)

Walmart is shaking up west Ottawa's shopping scene — and not everyone's happy about it.

On Saturday, the U.S. big box retailer officially opened its brand-new anchor store at the Bayshore Shopping Centre — a 130,000-square-foot "supercentre" with a pharmacy and a grocery section.

Walmart likely noticed the number of customers who patronized the former Zellers, the Bayshore Shopping Centre's previous anchor tenant, and figured they could attract those same shoppers, said mall general manager Denis Pelletier.

"When Zellers closed here, they were still doing very good business," said Pelletier. "I think they see this as a great opportunity for a very successful store."

'They could've stayed'

But one west Ottawa shopping mall's gain is another's loss: Before Walmart arrived at Bayshore, it shut the doors at its Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre outlet, three kilometres away.

Keith Thompson, a senior who uses a wheelchair and lives in an apartment near Lincoln Fields, remains unhappy about the closure.

"I still think it's a hell of a thing," said Thompson. "They could've stayed here. There's business here. They could have kept going."

Bay Coun. Mark Taylor grew up near the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, and he urged unhappy Lincoln Fields shoppers to keep an open mind about the changes.

"As much as residents here miss the Walmart, they're also looking for what's next, what are the possibilities," Taylor said.

"I do think the choice of moving the Walmart to Bayshore was a good one, certainly for our end of town. It puts a grocery store in that community of 7,000, which was without one."

Lincoln Fields still has a grocery store, a "key component" for any neighbourhood, he added.

The city has met with RioCan, the real estate company that owns and leases the former Walmart property, over the years, Taylor said. 

More meetings are scheduled for this week "to talk about what could take place" on that site, he added.

The space is prime real estate and eventually could be redeveloped and connected to the Transitway during the second stage of the city's light rail project, said Taylor — although that's still years away.