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Friction still promised

The operator of the long-promised Friction bathhouse says it will open, despite rumours to the contrary.

The bathhouse’s imminent opening has been in the works for more than a year.

“I can’t really comment on when we’re opening but we are opening,” operator Guy Nunes Vas told Xtra West May 17.

It’s a familiar refrain.

When Xtra West last spoke with Nunes Vas in November 2006, he seemed upbeat that things were moving forward then too. “Hopefully, we’ll have something to report in the next two weeks. It’s really hard to peg a date,” he said at the time.

Veteran cruiser Walter Muller remains hopeful that Friction will open soon.

“I’ve never seen anything drag out this long,” Muller says. “There seems to be no valid reason.”

Six months ago, Nunes Vas attributed the delays to a variety of unexplained problems he was reluctant to discuss.

Friction’s first operator, Jameson Farn, told Xtra West a year ago that many of the delays were due to permitting issues with the city, but said he didn’t think city hall was deliberately trying to stop the bathhouse from opening.

“There’s just such a lineup,” he explained, adding that each time there’s a delay, construction workers and tradespeople move on to other projects in Vancouver’s booming construction business.

Nunes Vas agreed that city hall was slow in issuing some approvals early in the project, but said licensing issues were not delaying the opening. He would not say what was delaying the opening.