Today you will find a lengthy article in the Guelph Mercury about the continuing saga of an empty field in the East end of Guelph.
That empty field is owned by Loblaws, and has been for years and years and years.
I’ve been told from Loblaws that there were many factors that contributed to there being no development there yet: Such as the development of Walmart, the recession that hit us all in 2008-2009 and the over $10 million they dropped into the Eramosa/ Stevenson location.
For many years the East end has been promised commercial development at Starwood and Watson. This is why originally the city built the library branch there to spur on other commercial entities in that zone.
But a desert and mud field it remained.
Some of the calculations required to prove to Loblaws (and others) that the population density to support such commercial development could be achieved, had the city continue to approve more and more residential units and housing surrounding the area. With more people it should satisfy the private sector that they have the people now who will be willing to buy their stuff.
And yet still nothing.
Now what’s happened over the last 10 months since I’ve been in office?
I have had more meetings on this issue than any other. I even talked about this issue in my state of the city address. This is a priority for me. Last week I met again with representatives from Loblaws in my office going over their future plans. I can assure you, city staff are instantly ready to help move this project along ASAP.
I haven’t been saying anything publicly about this because I did not want to give the very patient people of the east end of Guelph any false hope. Somehow the media found out about my meeting last week with Loblaws and I was called on it. So I wanted to give you an update from me personally.
I’m still optimistic. Loblaws people are very nice and I feel they’re trying to make things work. However, until I see actual submitted plans for the area they own, I’m not going to jump for joy. And, I’m certainly not going to announce that it’s going to happen when I’m not quite convinced yet.
What can be done about the lack of commercial opportunities in the east end?
Well, your ward 1 councillors and I feel York Rd from Watson all the way up to Victoria Rd could be a great commercial corridor. Studies will need to commence and other projects will need to align but it’s time we consider stimulating other areas in the east end of Guelph for these commercial opportunities in my personal opinion.
My meeting last week with Loblaws finished off with me promising them I’d call them at the beginning of December as a follow up – again.
Lets collectively cross our fingers. Building a city means you can’t leave one area to be ignored. The east end has been ignored too long when it comes to commercial services. The city, your councillors and I are doing everything we can to get this done for you.