With more than $100 million of public investment in downtown in the last 5 years, the promises of a vibrant and safer Downtown have yet to materialized. The Free Press has reported that a prominent Downtown landlord has hired private security officers to keep an eye on his properties due to chronic vandalism and break and enters from vagrants.
The city is now looking at moving more city services -- not social services -- out of city hall on Dufferin Avenue and into vacant Dundas Street storefronts, creating more business traffic in the core.The use of government jobs to create an illusion of a vibrant Downtown is a huge waste of money and resources. It is also a way for city council to cover-up the fact that the $100 million already spent on Downtown revitalization hasn't worked to expectations. Basically, it's fooling taxpayers with their own money.
Controller Gord Hume--who has never found a civic pork project he hasn't liked--has an even more elaborate idea than just a few city offices:
"We are also aggressively going after the province and federal governments to locate more offices downtown."Not only will London taxpayers be footing the bill for this bad idea, but all of Ontario's and Canada's if Hume gets his way. According to Hume's logic, trying to lure private investment to the Downtown area is waste of time and that turning Downtown into a huge government "make work" project is the solution. He has nothing but excitement of the thought:
"When they go for a walk, or a coffee, or an evening on a patio, it will change the environment of downtown and that will be nothing but great," said Hume.In a related story, London's planning committee have derailed plans for a $80 million private industrial park in south London. This move was likely done to protect the city's monopoly on industrial land in the area.
This decision comes just a day after nearby St. Thomas announced that a new Toyota auto parts plant will locate there--likely to avoid our city's taxes and bureaucracy.
I guess if London goal is trying to scare private investment from town, they are getting warmer!