Tuesday, July 31, 2007

London's solution for empty Downtown Storefronts: Fill them with Bureaucrats

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.

These factors seem as no surprise, as the numerous empty storefronts within Downtown are growing. However, the city's solution to these problems is never the private sector, but more public funds:

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!


MapMaster said...

Excellent post. Cordoning off the Downtown as a governmental theme park is an appealing idea for city bureaucrats and politicians who figure that any demands by these offices can be negotiated quietly between peers, instead of publicly. Somehow, each failure in a decade of overriding tax and regulatory intervention has only convinced London's political class that more intervention can save London from those failures…

…and damn the unintended consequences for insufficient force.

Elaine said...

Tourism London at last would have something to promote. It would be interesting to go and watch our overly priced welfare recipients, our politicians and their entourage, mingling with the lower end of the welfare scale. It would be like watching apes in a zoo picking fleas off of each others bellies. Downtown is boring. Just face it, London is a stick up its ass sort of town, and it has no mojo. London needs some mojo.

Elaine said...

"London is well on its way to becoming the laughing stock of the region when it comes to economic growth issues," said a frustrated Tom Gosnell-lfp

It is not on it's way, it already is the laughing stock. Imagine that, St. Thomas and Woodstock becoming the places to live and raise a family because they have jobs for the people to go to. The spin-off jobs and industry that St. Thomas and Woodstock will attract, leaves London eating their dust.

There is even rumor of Woodstock getting a Canada's Wonderland park.

That St. Thomas mayor was making fun of London yesterday in the paper, he was grinning like a cheshire cat at London's stupidity.

London doesn't seem to realize they are going to lose their young workforce. Though there are many lower paying jobs in London, people will abandon them and go and live where the money is better.

Oh well, London city council will have more time to concentrate on wasting money on the downtown trying to attract the people from Woodstock and St. Thomas to come for a visit.

Perhaps they could consider turning London into a retirement town. There are lots of hospitals, and older people do consider that when they go to retire.

The word is out now that London is not open for industry, so they have not many choices on attracting anyone to live here.

Elaine said...

City of Woodstock, Ontario, CanadaWeather: Clear19°C
August 1, 2007 7:27 AM
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Home Business Economic Development Economic Development in Woodstock

The mandate of the Office of the Development Commissioner is to develop and recommend policy alternatives that will enable the City of Woodstock to implement development and marketing programs. These policies and programs support the goals and objectives of balanced and steady economic growth through job creation and new investment.

The Office focuses on business retention and expansion, new business development, investment attraction, and market research.

""Woodstock Economic Development is an advocate for business and is dedicated to assisting all companies regardless of size.""

Services offered by Woodstock Economic Development include;

Land and building site selection information
Provision of statistical and market data
Promotional programs to encourage new investment
Free assistance to new and existing local companies
Product sourcing and potential market identification
Assistance with business start-ups
Liaison with provincial and federal governments
Consultation and networking with local businesses and industry
If your business is considering an expansion or relocation, or you would like to meet with one of our development staff to discuss any challenges your business may be facing, please contact our office and we would be pleased to assist.

For further information relating to locating your business in Woodstock, Ontario please visit the City of Woodstock Economic Development web site at www.woodstocknow.com

Now compare this to London, which has just stated to whole wide world of industry, that they can fuck right off.