So many people have written so convincingly about this issue, I had a hard time deciding what I could possibly add. I think the case has been made, and thoroughly, by people who are better informed and more eloquent than I could hope to be. In the end, I simply had to add my voice to the mix, so I have emailed this personal appeal to our City Council.
I am not a resident of your ward, but I am writing you as a citizen concerned about something that impacts me very directly.
Two years ago I quit my job to open a business just a couple of doors down from Kingsmill’s. I was delighted to find a space for my shop on what I thought was just about the most up-and-coming block of downtown.
When Fanshawe College first announced their intention to expand into the Kingsmill’s building, I was excited. I have seen our downtown make slow but steady progress over the last decade. I saw the additional expansion of Fanshawe as a huge new boost to our downtown’s progress, much like Budweiser Gardens has been.
My excitement was tempered, however, by concerns about the disruption that the long construction could cause. “It will be worth it, though.” That’s what I told everyone who asked me about it.
When the matter first came before council and was defeated, I felt almost sick. However inconvenient I imagined reconstruction of Kingsmill’s might be, it would not be as harmful to my business as having the huge building - which dominates the block - sit vacant. It could take Fanshawe College months or even years to find another downtown location. They have been clear in stating that they need the additional space soon. A second rebuff from council could prompt them to abandon downtown for another part of town.
“Why Kingsmill’s?” has been a common refrain by those who oppose this deal. My answer is, “Where could be better?”
A healthy downtown supports the prosperity and vitality of our city as a whole. The Kingsmill’s building occupies a special place in our downtown’s geography and history. This second phase of Fanshawe’s expansion is poised to help London reach critical mass in rejuvenating our downtown. What better place could we find to plant another cornerstone in the future of our city?
This project is special. It is important. It would be a wise investment of funds that have been set aside specifically for this kind of project.
I am asking you as a neighbour, a business owner and someone who loves our city, to do the right thing. Please, vote to support Fanshawe’s proposal.
Owner, Über Cool Stuff
122 Dundas Street