That empty space in Aylmer’s heart
As all of us look at the deserted Canadian Tire store, view the big empty parking lot there, it’s natural to speculate what will replace this cornerstone business. Speculation began over a year ago, when rumours of the CT move first surfaced. The ideas put forward by our readers on these pages have been interesting and stimulating – especially for a new STO bus station! – and some have been unusual.
The unusual ones pretty well all contain the view – or the plea—that “government” should come up with the new shops, an anchor store, or other use. City government, one assumes. But how can any government do this?
And should any government try?
We received the occasion letter complaining about big, paternalistic government. Would adding a commercial venture to the city government’s agenda satisfy these folks? Not at all.
The more libertarian of our letter writers complain that governments usually muck things up, not solve problems. They insist governments will unleash Big Civil Service and, hence, wipe out any possibility of effective and inexpensive action. They want the private sector to do its thing . . . and replace this store in Aylmer. In their philosophizing about government’s role, they forget that it was the private sector which created this hole in the first place.
But what could the city government do here? It would be great to hear more ideas from our readers on this subject, given the caution that leaving a problem like this up to politicians and civil servants is not entirely popular.
Most letters have suggested a new hardware store or a department store, similar to the old Zellers, which also left this mall.
“Government” could have the STO create a sort of super bus station here, as Mr Mazet suggested, giving commuters access to the Galeries’ shops and to the Tim Hortons across the street. The Galeries’ shops would be happy. “Government” could also create an upgraded health service, too – expand the CLSC, or, since we’re free to dream, a community hospital for our hospital-starved Aylmer (and lower Pontiac).
Building a big project would be expensive, but it would create jobs, at least in construction. It would be a stimulus to complementary services, like private sector health services, spreading out from this centre. It would stimulate shopping at home.
Expense is the question under our nation’s regime of targeted-austerity. Most economic analysts tell us now is the time to use low interest rates to rebuild infrastructure with investments like this. Our so-well-managed economy has been in stall mode for over a year – stimulus is the call by the economists. Deficit financing is the call of the analysts.
It is hard to imagine that such a prime piece of real estate will remain empty for long. It is curious in these days of austerity and government cut-backs that so many of our readers look to “government” as their first choice for a solution. Do you?