Comment 37316

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 22, 2010 at 13:20:29

A Tale of Two Downtowns:

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  • Ryan >>> "It utterly blows my mind that the International Village and Downtown BIAs are more worried about losing curbside parking than they are about gaining LRT. It's like they want to keep failing."

  • Jason :-)) "I sure don't. In fact, I'm sending this message from a mobile device I stole from the pawnshop on King St that doesn't want light rail, while lying down in Gore Park as my Doberman goes nuts on everyone."

On behalf of a few concerned property owners in the International Village, let me assure you that "we the people of Downtown" do not want to our core to fail!

In fact please treat this post as - a message in a bottle, and please do come and save us from ourselves!! This is a plea!

If anything, the process that drives the BIA system which supposedly administers the downtown core is designed to fail the people of this city.

I read this LRT rejection news story in the Spec with the same disappointment and shock that many have experienced here.

To those that look into the Downtown Core from the outside, it is important to know that the core's bipolar nature that manifests itself on so many occasions - is a result of two very distinct parallel worlds that exists down here.

One that of the property owners/tenants; and the other that of the BIA's Executive Director(s) and their Board of Director(s).

The poor and the mentally unwell are the least of our problems. It is our entitled class of Bishop Do-Gooders that many of us see as our biggest challenge.

Timur Kuran wrote "Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification" with the thesis that a significant number of people frequently lie concerning their beliefs, and that these lies have dramatic social effects. It is an essential read if one is inclined to understand the disconnect between our above two worlds.

Many active key constituents and property owners of the IV BIA are caught unaware of this preference that was put forward supposedly on their behalf by the BIA - which claims to represent the collective business preference of property owners and businesses in the core.

But then, this is no surprise at all - because many key constituents and almost all property owners at least in the IV - (of which I am personally aware of) have no voting rights to elect their BIA's Board of Directors/ Executive Director; nor have a say in formulating the 150K+ annual budget (of IV)!!

Yes, that is a fact!!

On the occasion that this was questioned at the 2008 IV - AGM, I personally was told to leave downtown as it was not good for me for simply having raised this question - in front of more then 25 attendees, two of whom were police officers! If that was not enough - hurriedly put together minutes of this meeting were circulated to all the constituents in the IV - (which not only failed to mention the above deplorable exchange at the AGM, but used language to paint me in negative light :-)

Is it a surprise our core appears on many occasions to be in the state that it is in? Is it a surprise that we have nothing to show of substance even after spending close to a million dollars over the last decade via the IV-BIA budget? A budget that is simply approved and allocated from the downtown property taxes+matched by the city - without any democratic say from those who pay the taxes in the core!!

Is it a surprise that the city actually has to now conduct an yet another expensive information input exercise in the core - after this rejection. (A copy of this was delivered to me only yesterday - while the initial rejection of the LRT was never conveyed to many!)

Our downtown problems are self-made. If James street has shown signs of regrowth it is because they finally opted to self-direct their own fate and no longer leave it in the hands of opaque groups and processes.

A case in point is this video that attempts to promote the International Village!! The choice of opening subjects who introduce what could have been the most dynamic cultural melting-pot of our city - defines the IV dilemma.

Caught between a funeral home and pawn shop/s... we do indeed have what it take to attract more residents to our core!!

(The image below is not meant to inspire anyone into positive action. It is just inserted here to feel good at moments like this.)

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