----- Tramway must not leave Principale behind
Rue Principale is the heart of Aylmer. It’s at the centre of our local economy, our services, our public life. It’s the very identity of our town. But what does its future hold?
Like vines on a trellis, cities grow and evolve around their infrastructure. Whether it be cities on rivers, malls on highways, or a café on a busy corner, infrastructure is destiny. Our own history is proof: Aylmer itself was founded at the junction of the river and Aylmer Road.
Today, the city is moving ahead with one of the most important infrastructure projects in our history. Just as Aylmer Road shaped the first 200 years of our history, the tramway will shape the next 200. Businesses, investment, and development will follow its path.
This project guarantees Principale a central place in Aylmer’s future. Rapid transit brings life to main streets, with tens of thousands of passengers passing them by every day. Commuters stop for an errand on their way; visitors stop for a drink on their way to the Marina; event organizers choose Principale because they know it’s accessible to the rest of the metropolitan area.
But Principale’s future is being eroded. The "preferred route" for the tram doesn’t serve Principale or its businesses. The development which could benefit it will instead be funnelled to areas which will be served. Instead of valuing Principale, the STO and our councillors are unwittingly abandoning it. By opting to go around it, Principale is being left behind.
The reason? It’s easier to build the line elsewhere. And that’s true. But are we best to do what’s easy, or to do what’s worth doing? In 5, 50, or 100 years, we will have long forgotten whether it was easy to build. But we will be all too aware of the bitter taste of a main street emptied by the decisions of the past.
The STO’s tramway study will finish by the end of this year. We still have the chance to demonstrate that the future of Principale is essential, even if it asks some extra effort from the STO.
Let’s show that our main street and our local businesses are worth it!