By Duncan McAllister –
Attendance was sparse at an initial meeting organized by Mary Ann Grainger to discuss forming a new business improvement area for Leslieville. One local resident comments that “out of the many, many stores, only a few showed up for a BIA introduction meeting a few weeks ago. I counted six. Most I talked to for the past year do not want nor care or will even consider a BIA.” The owner of Tango commented that “Everyone is waiting to see the outcome of [the Smart!Centres issue].”
A study is being conducted by the Riverdale Community Development Institute located at the Ralph Thornton Centre, with Ryerson students canvassing area stores. Preliminary results show that as many as 40% of the stores think they will have to close. Storeowners from Gadabout, Ring Audio, East End Garden Centre, and Brayham Contemporary Art have expressed concerns for their future existence. Kelly Carmichael of Smart!Centres opposition group East Toronto Community Coalition knows many store owners are expecting to close. She predicts, “There would be quite a few. When you walk a long Queen St. lots of stores have the No Big Box posters.”
The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) requested permission to withdraw from the OMB case opposing the Smart!Centres development on Feb. 20. TABIA is an advocacy group for BIA’s. The TABIA request is posted at www.thefoundrydistrict.ca.