South end residents have legitimate concerns when they voice worries about a proposed convenience store opening 24 hours.
It wasn’t that long ago, not even a decade, that a similar store at the exact same location was seen as a hotbed of unwanted activity, such as prostitution and drug dealing.
It’s tough to fault people for not forgetting all those hassles, especially given the countless hours – years, in fact – of effort toward cleaning up the area.
Yet residents must also remember that part of their effort was intended to attract new business to help reinvigorate the region.
Here is that new business opportunity.
While asking for a new store to close between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., residents must consider that such a restriction would have to apply to the entire neighbourhood, not just a specific site, and could even act as a deterrent to additional business activity.
How closing for four hours each night would help keep unwanted activity away is debatable. If anything, the lights and activity would deter ne’er-do-wells.
And while similar to the previous site occupant, in that it is a convenience store under the same franchise banner, the proponent has indicated a keen awareness of the previous problems and vowed to minimize such activity.
If anything, this new proposal offers considerable benefits to the neighbourhood. It has to be better than the empty lot currently occupying the space.
Still, given the residents’ considerable concerns, and the proponent’s apparent awareness of the issues and willingness to address them, what is likely needed is further compromise on both sides.
And the best way to achieve that is for both parties to sit down for a discussion, something that, surprisingly, hasn’t happened yet.