Friday, October 27, 2006

Lack of Surprise Here, Folks

West Edmonton Mall waterpark slapped with cleanup order
Last Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2006 | 3:55 PM MT
CBC News

Health authorities have issued a cleanup order for West Edmonton Mall's waterpark, citing filth and a lack of ongoing maintenance.

It is hard to imagine the depths of misanthropy to which one can be dragged on the occasion of a visit to West Edmonton Mall (aka The West Edmonton Grand Mal). I live about 20 minute's walk from the place, and I probably don't visit it more than once or twice a year (generally around 5:00 p.m. on December 24th). There's just something about a crowded, noisy, 5.3-million-square-foot space with stale, recycled, air and over-stressed people trying to keep track of squalling kids while making their way through some of the most gawd-awful kitschy interior decoration (I mean, for fuck's sake, a full-size fiberglass replica of the Santa Maria?!?!?) you will ever see anywhere (see, I'm not even at the mall, and hatred of the human race is already kicking in). Take that charming package and put it in the middle of crime-ridden suburban Hell surrounded by a particularly nasty parking lot, and you've pretty much got WEM. At least they're not in the dolphin-enslavement business anymore, having switched over to sea lions after all the dolphins died. And the roller-coaster hasn't killed anybody since 1986, so I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies.

Part of the problem is the immense damage that WEM has done to what I'll call the social fabric of Edmonton. A downtown core that's empty after 5:00 in the evening, and the terrible suburban sprawl to the south and west (oh yeah, and the north as well; parts east of Edmonton have Refinery Row, along with some of the worst cancer rates in Canada) of the city are direct results of the mall's malign influence. Whyte Avenue and, to a lesser extent, 124th Street, have been trying hard to stand in for places people actually go to socialize, but the former is still victimized by out-of-control drinking and ham-fisted policing, while the latter still has a ways to go before it becomes a magnet for people looking to have a pleasant time.

So, to wrap this rant up, I felt a very definitely evil glee when I read that Capital Health had descended on the place and declared it a cesspool.

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