By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
NANAIMO — The largest shopping centre on Vancouver Island is under new management.
Weihong Liu, a Chinese immigrant business woman, purchased the property from Ivanhoe Cambridge through her family business. The property officially changed hands on Sept. 1.
Liu has resided on Vancouver Island for the past six years. She has owned and managed shopping centres in China for the last two decades.
“In order to make Woodgrove Centre better, I sold my biggest shopping centre in China which was a popular shopping centre,” Liu told NanaimoNewsNOW through a translator. “I want to pay more attention to Woodgrove Centre as a new challenge for me.”
Liu declined to confirm the value of the sale, citing an agreement with Ivanhoe Cambridge.
Liu said she found Canadian malls boring compared to shopping complexes in China.
Though she’s taking inspiration from other centres in China and Canada, she’s not aiming to eliminate boredom through replicating a facility like West Edmonton Mall with rollercoasters and water slides.
“We want to focus on the education (for children) and a better approach to health advancement for elders…we need to provide these facilities for them because they are the most important people in town.”
She said her focus through developing Woodgrove Centre is to improve the local and regional economy and provide more employment, entertainment and educational opportunities.
“Canada is a really good country for immigrants from all over the world. There is no real differences on Vancouver Island. Everyone treats each person very friendly and very nice. They will come there as a friend, not as an immigrant.”
Staff at Woodgrove Centre are planning to host an appropriately sized event unveiling the new ownership at the end of September.