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June 21, 2012

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What you got to realize is that every person
who comes downtown to use the splash pad is a
customer.
I am sure after playing in the water the parents will also check out the shops along
there?.

Jerry:
Where do you get these fairy tales from?
Go talk to the Merchants and ask them how business is. LOUSY!
Give it a rest, or go down to Carden Street and buy something and use that activity as an ice breaker.
These merchants have suffered too long from the City's screw-ups,
We do not need your "anti" Chicken Rant!
For those Merchants the sky is definitely falling!

First of all I do go down and shop from the
stores on carden st.Do you?????.

I agree with you about the long suffering
merchants and the crap they have had to put up
with.
And the anti chicken rant is just too funny
and it proves my point about you.

My next point is this, where there is children there is mom;s.....moms shop for the scented candles and clothing and go into the restaurants to have lunch(w/kids)or husband.
My other point is this, since when do you have to park in front of the store that you want to shop in.
Do you do this in a mall parking lot???.
Or do you park where you can and walk(ya i know that is a nasty word to some people but get over your selves).
So next time we speak serious cynic i wish you would think before you speak.
Have a great day.

If business is lousy it's because they don't know how to run a business. Every day there are several hundred people within throwing distance of your business. If you don't know how to capitalize on that, you deserve to fail. Marketing 101.

It's about time they realized that the customers are there, they just don't sell anything people actually want.

As Steve says, the shops have to find a way to capitalize on all the new traffic. How much hockey gear sells during the summer anyway?

Something that the shop owners may not realize is that some of these visitors may not normally come down to Carden Street. While the kids splash, the parents spend time looking around at what great shops are there. And when there is a need, they may come to a Carden Street store to fill it. New business!

City hall created the change, and it is smart shop owner that will see the opportunity in that change.

Is that supposed to be less confusing, steve?

When my husband and I were down at Market Square on Tuesday night (and parked on Wilson) we took note of the Happy Traveller and had decided that next time we go out that is where we would go. We were also reminded of Wok's taste, where I have not been in years. Although I did not visit one of these establishments on Tuesday eve, I would visit one at another time and I will not worry about parking. There is, generally, plenty of parking on Macdonnell. I would also, in the future, possibly wander through the kitchen shop while my hubby and son play in the water.

Curious about why merchants feel that parking is owed to them more than patrons of City Hall. Is there a heirarchy where the merchant is at the peak?

As soon as the open the rest of the city splash pads the traffic should cut down by at least half. I certainly don't love the idea of having my kids splash around in their swim suits in such a public place where anyone can stand by and watch.... but the city hasn't given us any other choice. Trust me... as soon as the only splash pads open at the end of June, I will not be returning to the city hall splash pad, and I am sure I`m not alone.

My kid had a great time at the splash pad. While my wife watched (with a Planet Bean Coffee), I went to Footprints for dishwasher detergent, casual gourmet for wine stoppers and I got all of us gelato at B-Chocolate. We also parked on Wyndham St. I guess my family and I, are just not typical in Guelph (according to the merchants)! Then again, no one seemed to be recording my activities and intentions when I was there. Perhaps I should announce that "I am from the splash pad, fear not".

By the way, I have rented skates at the Hockey Shop for the city hall rink too, but it was a bit warm for that stuff when I was there this month.

I think that the moving of the buses has had an even bigger negative effect, Vinjoy says that mall traffic is the lowest he has ever seen and he has been there 25 years. We seem to make the wrong move every time, trying to solve problems that don't exist at a huge hit to the taxpayer, paying caviar prices for weird amenities like splash pads and black brick sidewalks and then having nothing left when we need it etc. I don't know if the problem lies with an idiot council or idiot staff or idiot consultants or a combination of all three, but why couldn't you have just left the downtown like it was? It was working better and we would still have tens of millions in the bank.

Why is it that people will go to a large shopping mall or big box outlet in the suburbs and park the equivalent of 1 to 3 blocks away from the entrance but downtowns need to provide parking within 50ft? It's all a mindset.

'Course it's a mindset, but it also appears to be a reality. And yet the City actually thinks that someone will pay to park farther away in the Wilson lot so as to free up on-street parking. Never happen, especially when they know that city staff are parking for free onsite. A quick short-term remedy would be to make Wilson free 2-hour parking again.

I agree with Dis-a-Ray. Downtown should have been left alone. City buses should be in the square. And what is with the black brick road and sidewalks on Carden St? Have you driven down that road? My bet is less than a year from now Carden St will be torn up once again to repair or likely replace the broken and uneven bricks. ( Who installed them?)

If public facilities get built in other areas of the city then the downtown merchants complain that people are being drawn away from the core. If they get built downtown then they complain they're taking up parking spaces.
I agree about the free 2-hour parking, though, even at selected times of day. That's a good compromise solution.

"If you will build it they will come" but what is happening is when you simultaneously reduce parking by 300-400 spots. And they built the "it(s)", splash-pad/rink and bus bays, right where the parking used to be! Pretty damn funny, in a dark Russian kind of way.

The first false step was building the Taj Mahal. That wastefully oversized administrative building for a small provincial city the size of Guelph pretty much characterizes the Farbridge legacy.

Aside: if they really cared about merchants, in earnest, the first thing they would have built is the Wilson St parkade.

Not wishing to come over as too much of a downtown booster but I sat outside Capistrano's this lunchtime and enjoyed a fabulous noon hour concert with Lynzie Kent. Personally I think it's far better without the buses in the square though completely understand why regular users may find the change to Carden St an adjustment.

As far as the Market Square is concerned, I love it. The brick road and sidewalks look great. Time will tell, but personally I think this is something that the City got right. The square is a great addition to the city and one that will be well utilized.

The only thing I've never quite understood was why the city went with two hours of free meter-parking downtown instead of two hours free in a lot.

Surely that would have encouraged people to see more of the downtown on the way to where they are going? It would also have meant that those that wish to park outside the place they plan to visit would be supporting city coffers while also preventing inappropriate use of the spots by people who are actually working down there and not visiting.

I'd be interested in knowing more about how they have measured the success of the free-parking initiative. Not sure I've read anything about that.

Jan, as I recall, Councillor Bell promoted "Walk a bit, save a lot"...

http://www.craigchamberlainonline.com


And by the way, Jerry (and steve), no, not everyone who uses the splash pad is a (potential) customer. Going to something that doesn't cost you anything doesn't mean you will end up spending anything or that you have any other reason for being there than to use it and go. And also, people are more than customers.

Time for some realism.

http://www.craigchamberlainonline.com

Craig Chamberlain
How many college or university degrees did
it take you to figure that one out??.

Dum da dum dum dum...........

The face of downtown has changed... forever in my opinion. It will never be a destination for fast paced consumer spending again. Never. No amount of splash pads, art festivals, jazz festivals, main libraries etc. is going to change that. In addition to the over zealous and ill thought out construction that has taken place over many many months, even years, which turned god knows how many people off coming downtown forever, and the panhandlers, whose population seems to have exploded on the square since the buses have moved, the development of commercial nodes in the other areas of the city has made it completely unnecessary for people living in those areas to come to the core, unless they have business that they can only do downtown. Heck I have even crossed paths with people who were born and raised here and have never ever been downtown.

Now I’d like to share an experience I had: I was at the splash pad this last week after reading the article in the Mercury, the one that featured the complaining merchants. I, therefore, made a point of visiting one of the stores on Carden street in search of a certain item that I needed that the store should likely carry. I was shown the version they had. When I tried to explain exactly what it was that I was looking for the owner looked at me like I was crazy not to just accept what they had in stock, buy it and move on. This person did not even attempt to demonstrate the possible advantages of their version that might have me considering it as an alternative. Interesting approach. I drove to one of the nodes and found the exact item that I was looking for (at less than half the price of the one downtown).

There seems to be a prevailing attitude amongst merchants downtown that has, quite frankly, lessened my interest in and motivation to support them – one of entitlement to all sorts of things just because they have blessed us by choosing to open their stores downtown. They seem to feel they deserve free parking right outside or within a few steps to their stores, our patronage simply because they are there and our acceptance of their more often than not moody customer service. Well… deserve ain’t got nothing to do with it. Don’t get me wrong – there are a few stores that do understand that it is their job to service the customer and operate in a professional manner even in the face of the perceived challenges they might feel they are dealing with downtown, but at this point it would appear that even they are feeling the effects of the increase in competition from the developing commercial nodes in other areas of the city.

Our downtown has shifted from being the center business area of the city to just one of several areas providing access to multiple shops and services. Competition from these nodes has increased exponentially. It is time that the people who are considering opening a business downtown, especially a retail store, realize this and factor it into their business plans and decisions and time for the people who already operate retail stores downtown to accept this fact, stop whining and realize that to thrive you have to make the shifts towards becoming a sought after destination, taking the necessary steps to make people want to come to your store, come hell or high water, parking a block or two or three away or even in a lot if necessary because they simply must come to shop with you. Yes – your shop must be that amazing in this economy when faced with tough competition. You must be that amazing in everything that you do. And it doesn't have to involve expensive solutions, but rather innovative and creatuve shifts and changes which can make a huge difference. It is up to YOU. Because even if downtown were ever to experience a shift to a naturally more thriving economy (one where the chances of your getting by without much effort at all raise ever so slightly) which might possibly come with the infill residential that is planned (maybe maybe…) it will take years and years for the effects to take hold – if they ever do. Doubtful...


Nicely done and on the mark Bridget, thanks.

And when someone is as insightful as Bridget was, the apologists will be out in full force calling them a "naysayer".

Between the panhandlers and those even more annoying people who accost you for donations in front of the Quebec St mall, its enough to make anyone want to steer clear of St. George's Square.

Bridget's not a naysayer but definitely has a less than optimistic outlook. I can only speak from personal experience but I just love making the trip into downtown. There are shops there that just can't be found at the other retail nodes, and that's what brings people to the area.
The downtown business hub will always be a place for shops like Guelph Music, Dis-a-Ray's, Wyndham Art Supplies, pawnshops, etc that don't exist anywhere else. Other businesses can distinguish themselves from the suburban stores by offering great service like Bridget said. Wimpy's and the Bookshelf come to mind but there are lots of others...and all within walking distance of each other.
And once the condos come there will be places to cater to the new locals as well. I see a continued active core for years to come.

Bridgit brings forward a good and fair observation, but her point is marred by unwarranted extrapolation and overgeneralization.

One incident in one store with one shop employee leads to "There seems to be a prevailing attitude ..." which is not an appropriate conclusion. Given that's there are few closed shops (compared to other city downtowns), it's just as reasonable to assert that most downtown shopkeepers know what they're doing, know who their customers are, and in fact, are generally on board with the direction the City and the downtown are going, especially now that most of the infrastructure projects are done and the next major projects are residential developments.

Thanks for posting such a long and well written piece, Bridget. You raise some interesting points about the evolution of commerce in the downtown area over the years. I do have to agree with TM, though. Your stereotyping of downtown merchants' attitudes based on your experience isn't all that legitimate.

It would be just as fair for the merchant you note to say, 'all those people who don't live downtown are unreasonably demanding. like i can afford to carry fifteen carrot peelers because she insists on the left-handed one one with the chrome and green rubber handle". Sounds like you already had your mind up as to what you wanted, they dont carry it, so move on ... which you did. But its a bit unfair to taint all downtown merchants because you have discriminating taste in carrot peelers (or whatever it was).

T.M. raises a good point, it's been five years since Wal-Mart opened in Guelph, and the downtown still thrives, which is in stark contrast with a lot of other towns - big and small - across North America. And despite all the construction on Carden St, only one shop closed and I consider that something of a minor miracle.

The thing is that downtown isn't a "node" per se, it's a culture. You have to sort of live it to get it. I love our downtown (pandhandlers included, although the donation-seekers with their clipboards I could do without.) I'd much rather shop for books at the Bookshelf than Chapters, see a movie at the Bookshelf Cinema than the Galaxy, eat a meal at the Wooly rather than Kelsey's, get a coffee at Red Brick over Timmies, and so on...

I'm sorry that Bridget had a bad experience in a downtown shop, but perhaps we should concede that downtown isn't a place where one can just "hop in", get their perfectly desired item at the lowest possible price and "hope out" again.

And the people that Bridget "crossed paths with [...] who were born and raised here and have never ever been downtown," I feel sorry for them. Perhaps they might think outside the big box and try a new experience sometime. This year's Jazz Festival has an awesome line-up!

Downtown Guelph is like any other place. You have to put a bit of effort into it. There are great stores, where I've had excellent service (Wyndham Art Supplies, Modern Tourist, etc) and others where I've had really bad service. Don't let the bad ones get you down, you don't have to go back. There are gems downtown, and it's worth the effort.

Second that, Ed.

Bridget makes the point that the downtown has changed, but more, that Guelph has changed, and that for important reasons relating to how it’s changed, merchants in the core cannot rely on one capital project after another, with all of the disruption it causes, to win over the Guelph consumer, culminating in a sale, multiple sales, cash in the till — they have to do it themselves and it’ll take some time. A couple of fellow posters got hung up on the details she used to help make her points around what merchants have to do to compete with the other nodes but no one entirely challenged the thrust of what she was saying in regard to the relevance of the nodes for most consumer activity...

http://www.craigchamberlainonline.com

Bridget has some good points, and I agree that some downtown merchants seem like they feel entitled to succeed just because they are downtown. The good thing is that they will fail, and be forced to close down and be replaced by better businesses, just like any business in a mall or other node that doesn't do it's best to serve their customers.

I'd also suggest that the few Carden St businesses that like to voice their complaints in the paper about lack of parking, or construction, or whatever else is their complaint of the day, should probably stop doing that. All you're doing is telling people not to come downtown, and from a business perspective, that's probably not helping you, or your neighboring businesses.

I couldnt agree more with EVERYTHING Bridget said.

Thanks for all ye right wing and left wing fun on here. Gotta love this city its either do something or dont do something. Sheesh.

I agree parents with kids are not looking for tattoo parlours, guitar shops and hemp stores, but then how many of those do you really need in the downtown? Possibly these store owners need to evaluate whether they are in the right place, maybe they need to move on and let a more appropriate business move in to serve the needs of the people who are down town. I'm sure there is a strip mall somewhere that doesn't have a tattoo parlour or hemp store.

How about posting an inventory of every business in downtown Guelph? It's name and the service and or products it offers. Then maybe it would become clearer why the vast majority of Guelphites don't frequent the downtown.

Why wouldn't a parent go with kids to a guitar shop? There are people (not me) of all ages in my family who have tattoos, and they're great (travelled the world, not shielded into mindless numbness by living in the suburbs, wise to the ways of the world).

Let's see ... for kids downtown. There's that clay pottery place. The children's branch of the library. The civic museum. The arena. The River Run. Simply Wonderful Toys. Some good restaurants. The farmer's market. A great bookstore/theatre. Perhaps some bank or insurance company where Mom or Dad work. Some great places for hobbies or sports (art stores, bicycle shops, hockey shops). Art galleries. Probably not Hot Yoga. Ice cream places not far from parks. Lots of churches. Best decorated houses for Halloween in the surrounding residential area.

Hello Geo, here is an inventory for you. http://downtownguelph.com/directory.php

Oh My!!
More than 400 businesses in the downtown BIA!!
I am flabbergasted!
This Blog is great for misinformation!!
And people think I am a Cynic!! Seriously??

Many businesses are listed under more than one category.

It's actually closer to 450 distinct businesses. This list includes membership other than retail.

George Bernard Shaw once said that the power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

It is a certainty that Mr. Shaw was certainly not thinking of these comment threads.

I reviewed the list of downtown businesses and it seems fairly accurate to me. Is it conceivable that the small handful of people who hold the downtown in contempt and scorn it, not because it is a terrible place, but because they are unaware of its actual vibrant and diverse character?

Maybe the very same people that revile the nightlife when they have never actually come downtown after dark. Kinda a form of bigotry actually.-

Vibrant, beautiful, heaven on earth, the most amazing downtown north of the 49th. How could anyone stay away?
Agree or disagree its time to put up or shut up. No more municipal tax dollars for this area of the city, it's had more then it's share. The downtown must now stand on it's own two feet.
Then we'll see what we really have down there.

Does geo think that the city is paying rent for the stores and businesses? Subsidize their employees? Pay for their benefits? 'Cause that's what it sounds like.

While I think that the city might be going too far offering any developer tax incentives to build in town, could one of the reason that downtown buildings get extra money for improvement is that many buildings downtown are over a century old, and might need that extra work?

Basically, I think downtown does carry its own, and let's remember: everyone who owns a business and owns a building downtown pays taxes too.

It'd be a better place if more people thought of themselves as citizens instead of just taxpayers.
We have a great city. Try to enjoy it.

$400,000 to a bar owner for renovations?? This is reasonable?? Does it ever end?? I suggest it never will unless this pompous city government is replaced by one populated by people who have had to earn their way through life!

"Hey kids, after we get soaking wet let's take a walk into the Guelph Daily Mercury and dry off." Just what were you thinking? The City used to provide neighbourhood park ice rinks and wading pools. Now apparently its the thing to do to travel downtown for what used to be "a walk in the park". Criminy, I don't think splashing and shopping are on the same list......

Carden St, Splash Pad, Guelph City Hall and Downtown Commerce
Since when is 3-5 years of construction, reducing parking and using the City Hall as a park - in a City with plenty of parks - considered good for Downtown Commerce or good use of taxpayer's money? There have been business that used to draw people from all over the city and from out of town, formerly on Carden St. Businesses with unique products that are gone - due to "bad neighbour" practices of City Hall.
Basic principles. When making changes, such a block party, involve the neighbours in the decision-making. When deciding to make the Market Square the new center of downtown, consult the merchants. Penalizing independent business owners while "revitalizing" Downtown makes little sense. No parking during Christmas, or other peak times while supporting City Hall pet projects is fiscally irresponsible. Not enough parking, makes even less sense. Simple.

I heard that the Chocolate guy went under. WOW has been shuttered for months. Carden St. Cafe is gone. Also, Home Essentials from the Square. Not one of them wanted any taxpayer dollars spent downtown, they just wanted it to be left alone so that everyone could sink-or-swim based on their own merits. The downtown was already great, now it is still great but no greater, and roughly $150 million is gone forever. The building of the new City Hall etc. etc. has cost each household in Guelph more than $4,000, and there is nothing to show for it but an increased vacancy rate and a splash pad. Not a very efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

If wonder if people complained this much when they built the previous City Hall.
For a City of 120K+ not to have all their city departments under one roof is ridiculous. There were staffers spread out across dozens of buildings, and the operating inefficiencies of that situation were enormous.
Guelph is a grown up city now, like it or not. And we have a proper City Hall and public square, just like almost every other city in the world. And compared to other cities, nothing about ours is overly extravagant or wasteful.
Anyway, I was downtown again today and saw plenty of people enjoying the splash pad, and heard a few others stroling down Carden talking about how nice it was. It's good to get out and experience the real people of Guelph instead of the sour grumpy shut-ins that populate this blog.

B Chocolate and Carden Street Cafe closed their doors, not because of the construction or the splash pad, but because their landlord dramtically increased their rents. Neither owners were willing to accept the excessive amount being asked of them. Sorry folks but don't blame Farbridge; blame Lesic.

B Chocolate will be opening in a couple of weeks on Waterloo. They have bought a former corner store and are expanding their services.

Steve
I was under the impression that "grown up" meant responsible, prudent, realizing your every desire cannot be fulfilled instantly.
This group performs more like a spoiled irresponsible teenager.

Sometimes, yes, but I was referring to the city itself, not the current council. Having a decent city hall is way better than the situation we had before with departments and staff spread out all over the city. And compared to other city halls and public squares, ours isn't out of line.

Is this the same Mr. Lesic that donated to the Mayor's campaign last election, while at the same time being embroiled in a lawsuit with the city, said lawsuit having been magically settled since? Just askin'. Sure makes for strange bedfellows.

The same Milan Lesic who gave $500 to the Farbridge campaign and $750 to the Birtwisle campaign? Hedging bets makes for even stranger bedfellows. Just sayin'.

But if you add up similar donations from the spouse and kid then the numbers get even bigger. You would think that donation limits were set by family so no one could skirt them. But you would think wrong.

The problem is, it seems, City Hall treats the downtown as an extension of the Corporation that is the City of Guelph. It seems as though the City regards itself as a mall landlord of sorts when it comes to decisions involving that node we call Downtown.

Like it or not, downtown "revitalization" is our vanity project. And in my opinion, this obsession has led to decisions that are not in the best interests of the whole, the small-c city we call home.

http://www.craigchamberlainonline.com

Alan Pickersgill wrote another column in the Trib today espousing that "At no time is it ever the City's job to deliver customers into any particular merchant's shop." Maybe not, but it IS the City's job to provide adequate parking, not take hundreds of spots out of the mix. Sure wish I was so well-kept by the state that I could afford to write columns dumping on those who actually have to work for a living. Boy, when Commies fall, they really fall far.

Eds note: This comment was edited as per our policies

Uh- Are you sure that that was edited? I think that the only thing you did was add "Alan" to Pickersgill, but by not stating exactly how it was edited it suggests that I wrote bad things that were removed. Perhaps you could just put his name in italics or point out that you added, not subtracted. ie it was a positive, not a negative, edit.

Yes, Ray, the only edit was that I removed the phrase you used to describe Mr. Pickersgill and replaced it with his first name instead.
The rest of the comment is as you wrote it.

We have spent millions of dollars of public money in the core and stand to spend millions more, so we all deserve more than subjective outcomes for this money than it is a more pleasant place to be.

Http://www.craigchamberlainonline.com

OK, I finally read the Pickersgill column and honestly don't know what people have against what he said. It's likely they just don't like his lefty slant on other issues so they reflexively disagree with anything he says.
The truth is all downtown businesses owe their very existence to municipal spending projects. Take away City Hall, the museum, transit hub, River Run, and the Sleeman Centre, and Guelph's downtown core becomes four tattoo parlours, three dingy bars, and a hundred boarded-up windows and storefronts. It's happened in dozens of other cities that didn't have the foresight to prevent it.

Craig
I know you are smart enough to realize that the measurable outcomes come over time, not immediately after a new feature opens.
All businesses don't start booming instantly as a result, it will take time to measure the impact both positive and negative.

I just drove home via the splash pad to have a look and it was very busy. What struck me odd about it was how close this children's play area is to a drinking establishment (the albion) and the lack of separation between carefree children running about and automobile traffic rolling up and down Carden street.
Did the city planners take this into consideration before they built this thing?

geo,
Interesting you should suggest that. I was just saying to someone a week or two ago that I can see someone -- child or parent -- getting hit by a car there because there is so little physical separation between the play area and the street.
People coming and going from the splash pad are chatting and running about and not really paying attention to who might be driving by. When the apparently-preferred parking is on the other side of the street it exacerbates the issue.

Add to this the kind of protection children have in a spot like the splash pad at Hanlon Creek, where adults in the area are obviously parents, and there with a child...

T.M.;
Those who know me best know I am, if anything, fair. From your post, I don't think you disagree with what I am saying: that there needs be measurable outcomes from spending tens of millions of dollars of public money, and those outcome measures need to be determined before the shovel goes in the ground. Otherwise, we are participating in a shell game.

Some benefit are difficult or impossible to measure...like recreation, culture, quality of life, etc, but I get what you're saying, Craig. With limited funds our needs must be carefully prioritized.

CC
There will always be elements of tangible and intangible results with such a development, but they are not separate from eachother in my mind.
If we want to measure impact to business, which seems to be the cry here, you will be challenged to do so fairly and openly. The businesses in the area are private enterprises so unless they are opening up their books AND measuring customer in the door count day by day, there will not be an accurate outcome.
I do know that a run down, beat up boarded up downtown will stand ZERO chance of growth and survival.
I also know, that based on what I am reading here, everyone saying the splash pad is busy everytime they drive by, that the impact to local merchants should be positive.
If there are potential customers dropped on your doorstep, it's up to you to capitalize on that customer. If they are not coming in, or not spending, that tells me that the retailer has a problem that extends far beyond a few parking spots.

The other item that has been tossed around that I completely agree with is the result of City Departments now under a single roof, instead of a multitude of leases and rentals for people, facilities and storage throughout the downtown core. There is absolutely operational and financial impacts to all under one roof.

But why did the crappy-looking "all under one roof" have to take away hundreds of parking spots and cost $100 million?

T.M.;
I would challenge you on what other aspects of our city could be regarded as the proverbial "boarded up" street. It's time to cut through the fog that has set into our thinking about our priorities, and what we expect in terms of outcomes for public dollars. The trap we are in is there is no real end to the "only ifs", the "only had we's" when it comes to pitches for public spending in the city's so-called "core".

Ray
I actually think the design of the building is fantastic. I'm a HUGE fan of adaptive re-use projects including this one.
I have nothing to add in terms of the parking spots, as i'm not as familiar with the specifics of number and location of spots as you are. As a retailer, I am in agreement that parking spots are important, though i'm not sure that the "hundreds" you refer to were all lost in prime retail locations?!

CC
your last few comments about measurable outcomes remain rather generic, so I shall oblige and turn the tables a bit. What specific outcomes do YOU expect should have been planned for in advance and how are you measuring them to determine that you are not satisfied with the expenditures?

I don't see any traps. I see some improved areas of the downtown that were much needed, with some exciting future developments to come.

TM, I could come up with a few, but then again they're not my projects and all of that should be something pre-identified in the staff report recommendations.

What seems to be new about our dialogue here is we're even talking about measuring pre-determined outcomes and what that would look like. But as it stands without those measures pre-determined we're still playing into that shell game where success is re-defined according what worked and what didn't work, and it seems we are now to understand that the best we should ever expect is that, in this case, the downtown should be a "pleasant place".

There is no end to what anyone could possibly pitch for, let's remember, rather significant capital expeditures, so long as when the dust settles you're able to suggest it is now more pleasant. Considering the money that has been spent, I imagine you could make just about anything "more pleasant".

That is not good enough, on a number of levels.

Speaking of which, I am hearing that the downtown isn't necessarily more pleasant for those of us who are older and have to now hike up from the transit hub to get to the shops. I guess they'll just have to adjust to this "improvement" in their lives.

Keep well.

The site necessitated tearing down the existing arena and replacing it a few blocks over with an expensive new one, and then building something that is much too low for such expensive real estate. They could have gone much higher and imcorporated a new library and condos up above, which would have been much cheaper in the long run. They had one chance to get it right, and they blew it. and by sprawling instead of soaring, they took away all of the on-site parking. Typical Guelph.

Ray,
What on-site parking did we lose? The new city hall and new POA courthouse take up the same real estate that the former city hall and Memorial Gardens occupied, and the Sleeman Centre -- which actually was not built to facilitate the new city hall, but to keep Guelph from losing its hockey team -- takes up former mall space.
I understand the spots are perhaps not being used by the exact same customers as before, but I take issue with the suggestion there are fewer spaces now.

At the end of construction, including Carden East, there was a net-loss of 131 spots, a figure supplied by the city. We have gained maybe 25 with the increase of on-street parking at the Square, but that still leaves 100+ gone. And then we agreed to give 100 to Skyline, and GO has been promised 200 but luckily no one uses GO (yet?) The Family Thrift Store site is supposed to supply approx. 45 spots, but 15-20 of those already existed. Perhaps that is where they are sticking half of the Skyliners. That is the funny thing,the situation is only going to get worse and there is no time or money available to stem the tide.

I'd be curious to know where those 131 missing spots were. We obviously lost some on-street with the construction of the transit hub, but I suspect picked up more than we lost by converting the bus lanes at the Square to on-street parking.
I still say the problem downtown is not a lack of parking, but the distribution and use of available spots. Most of the parking lots are at least half empty most of the time, but nobody knows it because everyone just drives around the few streets in the core where spots are hard to come by.

Here's a crazy idea...

People could actually use the transit hub by riding the bus downtown instead of driving their cars. Then we wouldn't need those parking spots.

Pie in the sky thinking, I know, but it makes as much sense as continuing to argue against something that's done and over.

The laziest people are the merchants and people who work downtown, and insist on grabbing the closest spots even at the risk of losing a customer base. It is disgusting that the MacDonnell lot is overflowing with permit parkers who could easily park another block away and then walk. Wilson St. is the same with city workers, they find even the extra ten seconds jaunt from below the cop shop to be overwealming. And when there were meters it was found that 46% of them were taken up by merchants taking advantage of the grace period. Maybe we all deserve what is happening to us. Me? I walk or ride my bike to work everyday.

agreed, if the Carden St merchant's didn't park on Carden St there would be a lot more space. To bad they have noting better to do than whine to the Mercury about no parking downtown.

I have only read some of the previous posts, I would like to point out that the splash pad is FREE. Accommodating those families that either don't HAVE the money to spend on fun in the sun or don't WANT to spend it. I highly doubt majority of the splash pad users are bringing extra cash to spend while they are there.
And to address the parking thing, I hate walking around downtown because there is always someone asking you for change, blowing smoke in your face or drinking from a paper bag. I won't shop downtown if I cannot park near the store I intend to shop at to avoid all of that.
Also, I was wondering, isn't the splash pad for the children not for everyone to jump in with their clothes on? How is the filtration system supposed to keep up with people's dirty clothes? I can only imagine how dirty the water is.

In 1904 postouvohw Tracy Manalo | Discount Bags Sale Hi Discount Bags Sale.
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Well, it's a shame that a city with such a reknowned University generates a conversation laced with "Everyone" and "No one" that slags others rather than responding to what they say.
Intellecutal clap-trap, I think it's called.
Personally, I'd rather have a conversation based on solutions, with people who actually know what's going on.
Talking about the truth, is not "complaining" and "whining".
Wanting accountability from city Counselors is not a bad thing.
When we spend our time blasting one another, local politicians are often acting out - on a smaller scale - what is happening federally and provincially. Heavy-handed, money-driven tactics, because they can get away with it.
Respect is such an important thing ... why not demonstrate it here?
Check out the CBC Hamilton - Town Hall:"Mental Health 101" for a conversation that actually impacted it's participants who are working for change while also demonstrating respect for one another.

Alan Pickersgill might be gone forever! Apparently the Trib is "recalibrating" his column, which is usually double-speak for "tying the can to." Happy New Years and good riddance! But at least he has his very-unsocialistic gravy-plated pension to fall back on.

Awesome blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I'd really love to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

Impresionante! Realmente me siento encantaso con el objetivo del pagina web. Es sencillo y aun asi de utilidad. En infinidad de situaciones es muy duro lograr un balance entre usabilidad y presencia de diseño. tengo quue señalar que has construido un desempeño muy bueno con esto. Asi Mismo, el Web blog se carrga muy deprisa en mi Internet explorer. Un Webblog estupendo!

Saludos! Un amjigo de mi grupo de Facebook huzo circular esta pagina entre nosotros de esta forma he decidiudo echar unn vistazo la pagina de blog. Sin Duda he disfrutado la documentacion. Metere esto en mi preferencias y se lo twiteare a mis followers! Fantastico pagina de blog y un diseño fantastico.

Cogere su fuente rss ya que me ha sido imposible hallar su correo electronico para sushribirme a tus hyperlink o servicio newsletter . ¿ Dispones alguna direccion? Si eres tann amable permiteme comprender de quee manera podria. Soloo quiero subscribirme. Gracias.

¿Que tal todo? He estado visitando ttu websjte por sobraro tiempo hasta hoy por hoy y por fin tengo el coraje de escribir desde Fuentebureba de España .Solo queria comentarte que sigas haciendo tan gran trabajo!

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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