Comment 73505

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2012 at 16:16:42

We already have Jeremy Freiburger doing similar projects in Hamilton - starting from the Barton area... many years ago. We also had Bill Powell who back in the '80's/90's attempted to revitalize the Barton Village into a similar arts district.

If a video is made of all these local efforts it would be quite a self-image booster.

We do not have a shortage of people, ideas or application of such simple and good ideas for revitalizing our many struggling streets, but these effort are constantly undermined by what is now distinctly recognizable as the large and heavenly footprint of the poverty industry on our lower city.

Barton has been the beneficiary of many organizations that have used public funding to import poverty into the neighbourhoods to set up shops which then go on to provide religious backed rehab services.

Are all the 'clients' of these organization - all residents of the lower city?

No arts & crafts led revitalization can withstand the organized onslaught of such an industry. Every effort made so far on Barton has been wasted or diluted as artist led rejuvenation have been rapidly overshadowed by so called pseudo-religious organizations who claim to be bringing relief to the huddled masses.

Just in the last three months, at least three very large store fronts on Barton have been taken over - between Victoria and Wentworth, by so called church groups who are now offering all kinds of rehab services which brings more dependency rich people into this area.

Mission Services not to be undone, has prepared mega-plans for a long-term centre of close to 45,000 sq feet to turn the the slowly revitalizing Wentworth North axis into a place which will bring in more dependency rich people to live in nearby area - all under the guise of a "learning centre"!

We were candidly told by an established local individual that drug rehab was badly needed in this area. Upon being questioned in front of witnesses, as to where these people will be coming from - he uttered: "from all over, and even Ancaster" - which made us laugh! To which he clarified: "now, you don't expect these people to be seen going into such a service centre in Ancaster, do you?"

In this unchecked scenario can art or artist driven initiatives really revitalize Barton street or other parts of the afflicted lower city?

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