Tag Archives: downtown

The Real (Estate) Issue for Injection Site Wasn’t Location or NIMBYism

By Jay Menard

This past week, we saw a lot debate around the preferred location of a safe injection site that revolved around location, city building, convenience, and time, but that failed to address the primary need — that of the users who need support and resources.

Add to that facile Tweets, misinformation, and unrealistic timeframes for pseudo-public participation, and you had an environment that was custom-built to encourage failure.

The debate about a location for the safe injection site shouldn’t have been about NIMBYism. But, in many cases, that’s what it devolved into. For those who are quick to cast aspersions on-line, it’s an easier narrative. It’s also a false one — and the fact of the matter is that location is only at the surface of the challenge.

We need to ensure we look at the facts, not just a map, to deliver the best solution for those who need it most. Continue reading

Dundas Flex Street Needs Some Muscle

By Jay Menard

You can flex all you want. If there’s no muscle behind it, no one’s taking a second look.

London’s council recently endorsed a $15.9-million plan to create Dundas Place — transitioning a stretch of Dundas St. from Wellington St. to the Thames River into a flex street.

The idea, is sound in principle. But while there’s been a lot of talk about transformation — an empty word that can be filled by any concept that fits your desires — there’s little talk about sustainability.

And that’s where the concern is.

I love the idea of a flex street. I’ve seen it work. But I don’t love the idea of a flex street as the first step in a process. Dundas Place has a strong “If you build it, they will come feel.”

And that’s true. They’ll come.


After that? You’ve got to give them a reason to keep coming back. Continue reading

Chewing on Core Ideas of Food Trucks (or I Did Not Realize Those Wheels Were Just for Decoration)

By Jay Menard

With the way the food truck debate in London has gone on, I’m surprised to find these vehicles still have wheels.

After all, there seems to be little interest amongst many of the proponents in seeing them go anywhere but downtown.

If you listen to the debates, explore the distances and limits discussed, and hear the concerns, it’s all from those in the downtown. But what’s missing — as it usually is in London debates — is the awareness that there’s a city beyond the core.

And there’s a consumer base that would love to support food trucks on a regular basis. Continue reading

No Panacea, but a Placebo May Help Downtown, OEV

By Jason Menard

I love downtown. I enjoy working downtown, I enjoy playing downtown, and I enjoy eating downtown. But I also understand why so many don’t.

More importantly, I respect their right to have that opinion.

For downtown to succeed, some people need to get off their high horses and try a little understanding. But it’s likely not the people you think. Continue reading

Marketing Downtown: Less ‘Should,’ More Filling a Need

By Jason Menard

It’s not enough to build it and hope they come. And while the downtown master plan is visually appealing, core proponents can’t be blind to the fact that the most important thing to see is what the consumer actually wants.

It’s great to have a pedestrian-friendly downtown, but you have to focus on marketing and give those pedestrians a reason to come. And it has to be more than supercilious castigations of what people “should” be doing; it has to be a focus on providing customers with something they want to do.

Otherwise you’ll end up with a beautiful, but empty, revamped core. Continue reading