Robert Girardin – At Large Candidate
1.Businesses are frequently the targets of crime and on the front line dealing with societal problems in the area; what steps do you think should be taken to ensure businesses are protected and our community is safer to explore, shop, work and play in.
The first two points of my public safety ideas could be helpful for businesses in the Fort William BIA:
Additionally, my idea using graph database technology can be used to identify patterns in crime and identify better opportunities for service improvements:
I also believe that increasing urban infill with mixed use buildings would help. I would like to see larger buildings with shops at ground level, offices on the next couple of stories, and residential units above. More people living in the area can be a deterrent to crime due to the increased likelihood of being spotted in the act.
I would also like to see an additional shelter with support services be built near the hospital to alleviate pressure on the south core, but given the upcoming recession, I doubt the funding will be available this council cycle.
2. What is your impression of the Fort William Business community? What is one thing that is done well and what is one thing that needs to improve?
I’ve been an East-Ender my entire life except for the 7 years I lived away for work. My brother owned a shop on Simpson St. and I have spent many hours at the shops on Simpson St. and the Downtown Core. I feel that the owners in Fort William truly care about their customers and they truly make me feel more like a friend than a customer. I’ll consider this as part of my impression, and what they do really well, customer service. I feel that a lot of what’s been hurting Fort William merchants is beyond their control, because what is really needed is something that draws people to the area like the waterfront and casino draws people to the north core. Fort William Gardens isn’t doing that. I think that, if it goes to Chappel’s Park, a soccer plex could help with that, so the FWBIA should support that. I also think, given some of the buildings with large surface areas, there are great opportunities for building murals to give the core a face lift and become a bit of an attraction.
With the revitalization of downtown Fort William project underway there is no planned community center for the area after the project is completed. Victoriaville provided an important and safe gathering place. What vision do you have to recreate a similar environment for community connectivity?
I actually like the proposed plans for the Syndicate street spaces found on the Public open House Presentation boards, although I’d mix the two ideas. I like the Northern Gathering Circle from the Boreal Forest Plan with the Central Lawns and Stage from the Urban Heritage plan. This is because I believe that, to receive the most benefit, we need to have things constantly going on in the south core to draw people there. The large spaces just for sitting, while beautiful in concept, will do little to draw people there to interact with our merchants.
Thanks for reaching out,