Letters to the editor for April 18, 2017

I am a fairly new Beacher and I shop religiously in our local area. It makes for good neighbourhood stuff.

After reading your article on the state of shops and restaurants (“Many factors feed into empty storefronts on Queen East”, March 21), I looked at Queen Street with some more interest.

It occurred to me that the general appearance would be a lot better if businesses would take care of a few things, like: replacing/repairing awnings; replacing missing letters in neon signs; sweeping the sidewalk in front of their establishment; if paper signs are used in the windows, make sure all corners are attached to the window; out of business storefronts were papered up neatly; fixing that little bit of missing paint; remove holiday decorations when the holidays are over and certainly by the time spring comes around; and remove flyers sticking out from the mailbox

Some establishments look squeaky clean from the street and attract customers more easily than others. I share Beacher concerns about the number of disappearing businesses. But I’m probably preaching to the converted.

Ada Spanjaard

Lessons from another village

I was shopping in Roncesvalles Village recently and was delighted to see how vibrant and attractive the main street has become. There are no glass highrises and all the retail stores in low rise buildings look spruced up and ready for spring.

I only saw a couple of empty stores and could not help comparing the area to our Beach Village, where Queen Street is full of spaces to rent.

Many of the open stores on Queen look like they could use the windows washed and more TLC.

It is general knowledge that Beach retailers continue to struggle mostly because of high rents and because the area does have the 360 degrees of dense population due to lake Ontario to the south.

I cannot say I have the answers to the problem but I can see the difference from one very successful Toronto “village” to our own.

Roncesvalles was full of people of all ages shopping in stores and eating in restaurants.

The shops appeared to include all that is needed for “shopping locally”.

Perhaps there is something to be learned from how they have “developed” so successfully with more emphasis on making a good mix of neighbourhood homes and stores and less on selling out to high rise developers.

Sharman Wilson

New ‘gate’ in Kew spoils the view

I held my tongue and my pen as I watched the destruction of the flower gardens at the top of Kew Gardens.

I maintained my silence as, month after month, the area was closed to the public.

The work took forever, doubled in cost, and still I did not write.

A year passed and then another summer came and went.

When I returned from vacation, I could, at least, walk in the area again. The only necessary and successful renovation is the area around the War Memorial.

But then, out of nowhere, a hideous black thing appeared. Purporting to be a welcome gate, it spoils the view of the west end of the Beaches Branch Library and blocks the expansive view of the park from the sidewalk. These so-called renovations are a total folly.

The black barricade was the last straw for me and I had to speak up.

Lee Gold

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A few years ago, Queen Street East was chosen as the best Main Street in Ontario. How did it go from hero to zero? I guess part of the issue is the exorbitant rents businesses have to pay. The lack of parking and relentless by law parking enforcements, and a saturation of restaurants and pubs that are a now-yo-see-em-now-you-don’t . There doesn’t seem to be any ‘pride of ownership’ in the business sector and that may be due to the fact very few businesses actually own their buildings. Some businesses don’t sweep their side walks or clean their windows and then there is the pain-in-the-ass entrepreneurial beggars standing near the door asking for a donation. I think the Business Association is doing the best they can and to fight over the already “done” Kew Garden’s” make over is now counter productive and it needs support, not boycott. As far as most of the coffee businesses go, the death knell happened with the introduction of wing back chairs and WIFI.

lee Gold I agree with you completely about the new design for Kew Gardens. I didn’t hold my tongue and phoned our Councillor last summer concerned over excess paving. I was listened too but told to wait and see the result. Now what? The new benches with the bright orange handles are designed specifically to prevent the homeless from sleeping. There are so many , I think about this and miss the lovely green entrance. M Clark

Absolutely agree with you, Lee … but any concerns expressed during the planning were dismissed as being “resistant to change”.

The ugly metal “thing” cuts the park off from the streetscape – the exact opposite of what was intended. The red/orange metal bars on the benches do not suggest nature and relaxation.

Frankly, it’s a $1.2M dollar boondoggle (at last count) that neither met the requirements or the budget of the project.

The rents on Danforth have skyrocketed and that’s why chain restaurants move in. Taxes and regulations on businesses keep rising. Utilizes and
Supplies go up. And delivery costs
go up cause of traffic and fuel. It costs more to operate downtown for everything. It’s getting to be too much for small business. Business improvement areas are just ways of collecting more taxes. The maintenance of the beautification elements (flowers , banners, etc) is also the burden of the businesses

Traffic to get to and from the beech is bad. Roncesvalles gets more flow through traffic. Danforth is a pain to drive along since they reduced the lanes so fir me to visit from just 5km away, it takes longer than ever.

There are many contributing factors to stores closing.

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