About this time last year I had a brief debate with a minion of a local architect’s firm who was employed by the city’s chief consultant to make recommendations for how many highrises could be stuffed into the Preston-Carling CDP (no conflict of interest here, no sir-e-e-e).
This minion, previously described in this blog as “Spike” thought it was GREAT that the neighbourhood was undergoing renewal, revival, rejuvenation, rebuilding, etc. ad nauseum. Of particular import to him was that firms moving in were the CREATIVE CLASS. High tech firms, planners, and of course, ARCHITECTS. Like his firm, having just bought an elderly industrial building that it would turn into spiffy new offices. Definitely a blessing to the neighbourhood.
Just how is it a blessing?, I asked. Will the new locations employ more locals than before? Will they make things we want to purchase or enjoy? Will they support local merchants? He was a bit taken aback by my implication that architectural staff weren’t perceived by the dumb locals (meaning me) as a superior sort to the previous workers, at say the displaced baseball bat factory previously on that block.
How many parking spaces does the new architectural offices have? Well, one. Hmm. Bodes well for the firm owner, but it sounds more like a land play, where selling the lot for a high rise becomes his retirement gift to himself.
That earned me a frown.
Will you be living in the neighbourhood? I inquired. Maybe riding your bike to work? Well no, he lived in Greely, and will be driving to work. Transit and cycling are just not practical where he “happens” to live.
So his infusion of the creative class replaces local employees with others, clogs our streets while they are here, no doubt converts residential properties to more parking lots, and on departure with a tax-favoured capital gain leaves behind yet another high rise with too-little guest parking. For this we are blessed?
Well, I suppose it is a shorter drive to Harry Rosen for those nifty creative class clothes.
So now the architect has moved in. And what do we find a half dozen blocks away, but a temporarily-vacant lot — someday to be another highrise if the condos sell — now turned into a parking lot exclusively for the creative class to drive in an out, liberally bestowing their blessings en route.
It’s enough to make one shed a tear.