Archive for May, 2008

fighting ghosts

May 2, 2008

There is at least one Marine Drive restaurant owner who continues to act as though the reason his business is failing is because of the Spirit Square project that will begin construction in September. While I (and many others on Council) have been trying to have a dialogue about how to make it easier for customers to visit Marine Drive businesses, it seems he’s more interested in attempting to stop the park expansion – as though the project not proceeding would resolve parking problems on the beach.

The Mayor has created an opportunity to address some long-standing transportation and customer service challenges on Marine Drive. Rather than take advantage of the opportunity and work with the City on solutions, he just wants to complain about the Spirit Square. These are issues that have been a problem on Marine Drive for decades and will continue to be the achilles heel for waterfront businesses with or without the Spirit Square. It would be incredibly short-sighted to waste this opportunity for the sake of trying to sabotage Spirit Square.

If the real goal is to create an exceptional, special experience for visitors to the waterfront, then all merchants ought to be looking for ways to improve transportation systems so that their concerns about the Spirit Square will be resolved. Anyone objective or with any knowledge of urban planning knows that well-planned public spaces are good for business.

If transportation is the issue, then let’s focus on that – let’s put in place solutions to the real problem. It would be counter-productive to defeat the Spirit Square for the sake of parking – that won’t solve the problem and would just waste an opportunity to refresh and improve the focal point of the waterfront.