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June 04, 2008

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Well that comes as no surprise! I guess I'll continue to do all my shopping outside of Guelph, and give those cities my hard earned money!

Guelph is not a 'small' community anymore, we need more options in Guelph. I hope we have more luck with the Ontario Municipal Board.

Sandy:But don't forget,according to Council,there''ll be a train station there and you'll be able to go from the Lafarge property into the downtown or,better yet,to Waterloo where multi-millions of $ in tax revenue are flowing into regional/municipal coffers as a result of commercial/service development openmindedness of their politicians.When will Guelph erect a Berlin-Wall-like structure around the City to keep out "outsiders" who want to see the City prosper and not on the backs of residential taxpayers?The current politicos will retort with-if you don't like it move!

Just to clarify... people have suggested a Go station on the Lafarge property, but council hasn't formally commented on that.

When two sides of an issue both have automated knee-jerk responses it would make for a highly entertaining dance on YouTube (if we could catch the moment on video).

For me it is not a question of whether or not there should be shopping "power centres" aka clusters of big boxes... but that the best locations should be determined by our community, for our community, in our community and not be developers driven simply by the big box buck. Our community has been bucked enough times already in the fewer than 200 years we've been an identifiable entity.

As a results of the big buck boxers we have contaminated wastelands scattered through this municipality from the big boxes that used to be factories, employing people but also pumping major toxic waste into the ground -- leaving us to get the lead out much later, so to speak. We really should be careful where we pour asphalt and concrete.... that entire stretch along the Hanlon "Expressway" is critically sensitive wetlands and arguably the worst place to put up parking lots of any kind, with or without the big boxes.

Ideally land suitable for such developments would be identified (perhaps already has been) and that's where the developers should flow their money to make money activity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgMEPk6fvpg

Edward:Check with the City planners regarding contaminated lands and you'll be woefully surprised at the large number and particularly paved over areas near the Speed River in the downtown that's gravitating towards the river,yet naught's being done.By the way,you've conveniently omitted the fact that the "Lafarge lands" are zoned industrial so guess what could go in there with only site plan approval-that'd make the neighbours really content!?

It's too bad posters like Sandy and Grunt haven't taken the time to investigate why the former laFarge site is a poor location for Big Box before expressing their uninformed reactionary opinions. The issue is not large scale commercial in the city, as the City has already planned for large retailers to move to Guelph. Rather the real issue is that the location violates the Official City Plan, to be followed by all developers (such as Armel). Also, the historic neighborhood can not possibly support such a vast parking lot without devaluing the entire downtown and eventually the city as a whole. If citizens like these are so enthused to have american, 80s style big box stores on their street they should move to Cambridge: Housing prices are really cheap due to urban-sprawl, and poor city development, so they will have lots of money left over to buy cheap imported goods.

Sandy said: "I guess I'll continue to do all my shopping outside of Guelph, and give those cities my hard earned money!"

Im curious Sandy, what stores exist outside of Guelph that force you to regularly load up the kids and drive for miles? Are Walmart, HomeDepot, the entire Stone Road Mall, countless Zellers and Canadian Tires not sufficient?

Sure I can understand not wanting to shop downtown. It's full of dirty people and you sometimes have to walk more than 30 feet, but what more do you want here?

What can you not buy in Guelph now that absolutely requires this new development and spurs such an emotional reaction from you?

Personally, I find I can buy anything I want here in town.

I for one am glad the City rejected the re-zoning. I'm a big fan of the proposed rail/bus terminal for these lands. With the already existing rail lines there, which would allow for future connections to both Cambridge and KW, and it's location right off the Hanlon for KW communters, it's by far the best proposal thus far. Big Box stores should go up around the edges of the City, not in the heart of it.

I just wish someone on Council would have the guts to stand up and say that's what we want for these lands, and then start lobbying the Province for the funding to make it happen.

Thanks, Paul.

I hope the city and the community can work together to make the Lafarge lands at least partially a transit station. I know there is a good deal of concern from some members of council that using this land that way will make the downtown transit hub redundant, but I take the opposite view. Without a place for commuters to park, the transit hub will be redundant.

While I am no fan of big box stores, my objection to them showing up at the Lafarge lands has nothing to do with the fact that they are big box stores. As mentioned by others here, there's lots of place in the CPR for big box stores to go in this city. It is that the location is a one-of-a-kind opportunity cities all over can only dream about for transit, and it would be embarrassingly shameful to this city to pass up on it.

And to Sandy, "I guess I'll continue to do all my shopping outside of Guelph, and give those cities my hard earned money!" I hope you realise that when you buy products at Costco, Wal-Mart, or any other foreign or far-away owned big box stores, you are directly removing money from the local economy, not contributing to it. If you are in a hurry to throw your hard earned money at a family in Arkansas, that is your prerogative, but don't for a moment expect me to work to make it easier for you to do that.

D C: Your sarcasm put me in a great mood... thank you! I like your attitude.

Paul and David: It would be a shame to miss this opportunity for a perfectly situated GO station. If and when this happens, I will have to claim Guelph as the best city in Canada! And thanks for all your hard work David; your letter was well read at Tuesday's meeting.

D.C. - You're right, Guelph does have many places to shop, however it's like we're closed for business sometimes. I do some of my shopping in Guelph, but I'm forced to go to Cambridge for places like Costco, and all the way to Burlington for IKEA. I'm not one of these young people who have loads of disposable income. Frankly, I don't know how some people even survive with the cost of living. With the new stores in Stone Road, I'm lucky if I can afford the sale rack prices. I can buy a crappy quality shirt at RW & Co for minimum of $50-60 OR I can go to Costco and get better quality and nicer shirt for about $15-25. So, I guess that's where it's at. Guelph is ok, but we do need to add more competition. It's not a bad thing, as our current council is making us think. I mean just think, if we allowed more businesses to come into Guelph, we would have a tax decrease instead of increase. Then maybe I could afford the Guelph shops!

All good points Sandy, however the main argument here is not whether or not we get more big box stores, it's that the Lafarge lands is NOT the place to put them... not when they have so much to offer as a transportation link, with all the major roads and rail lines that intersect with that piece of property. (more so than any other location in Guelph, I'd argue)

Saw a great bumper sticker today - "Out of a job yet? If not, keep buying foreign". That says it all. We lament the loss of manufacturing jobs and our struggle to attract value-added industry to the city...and then run off to Costco and Wal-Mart in Cambridge and contribute to the problem. It's like taking your SUV to the corner store on a Smog Day because you don't want to breathe the dirty air...

Guelph has no shortage of zoned and undeveloped commercial land. Guelph also has no shortage of stores to buy everyday goods. What we're short of is: well-planned, mixed-use, transit supportive, forested, walkable, live-work neighbourhoods. Why not start with the Lafarge lands?

In case anyone else is wondering (I was!), the OMB pre-hearing tomorrow (the 12th) is at 10 am in Council Chambers. I'm not sure if it is open to the public, but I do not see anything to suggest otherwise. I intend to show up to observe the proceedings.

cool. please let us know what happens david. thanks.

It's 10:30, in council chambers, and open to the public. I'll post here about what happens.

One question about the proposal to put a GO station on the lands (which I support) isn't that going to lead to the same objections about traffic from the community?

Maybe we buy to much? What exactly is it that we need outside of Guelph that is so life valuable? We already have a ton of chain stores and big box, but with all of the same junk. There was a time when people actually bought out of necessity. Are we that spoiled in North America?

As for creating jobs, well I am sure every high school student or layed off manufacturing employee is jumping for a career at Costco or Wendys.

Here is a thought - just maybe if we had not all wanted everything at the lowest cost possible we would not be buying everything in a superstore where everything is made in China and just maybe people would be working in trades in Canada with maybe a little smaller homes, and only one car, and less fast food and less junk. just maybe.

I bet you just typed out your comments on a computer made in China Regg.

Or a blackberry made in Waterloo! Wow the assumptions here astound me!

Yes linda, and the blackberry is made up entirely of parts coming from China/Japan/India/Hungary etc. It's only assembled in Waterloo. So regardless, you can't escape it - the assumption Karl makes is correct and shouldn't really "astound" anyone.

So while Regg and Linda types on their Chinese-component computer, connected to their American/Japanese cable modem, which connects across lines to a Rogers HUB managed by American networking devices, while drinking a coffee that's traveled thousands of km from a coffee exporting nation, sitting in their office chair made in China - then yes people, there is a life outside Guelph.

[/rant]

Way to go Milo!

And China, Japan, Korea all use raw materials (energy, metals, chemicals, forestry and petroleum products, etc.) that come from Canada. Then we buy back the manufactured parts or finished goods.

I think the point is well taken though - it's a global economy. And Canada will never be able to compete if shoppers only want to pay the lowest price.

I don't believe Cambridge has better selection or prices. I buy my Stanfield's (made in Truro, Nova Scotia) undershirts at Lens Mill for WAY less than Wal-Mart ever has them on sale.

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Joanne

Joanne Shuttleworth is the newsroom lead in municipal affairs coverage for the Guelph Mercury. She is a former Guelph YWCA Woman of Distinction honouree and a past winner of an Ontario Newspapers Award for her work as an editor. You can reach her at jshuttleworth@guelphmercury.com

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About Chris

  • Chris Herhalt
    covers municipal affairs and politics for the Guelph Mercury. Prior to joining the Mercury he worked at The Record of Waterloo Region and at The Canadian Press. He can be reached at cherhalt@guelphmercury.com