Downtown London - News

November 2016

  • November 1, 2016

    Message from our Board of Directors regarding LWLP




    From the Board of Directors, Downtown London.


    This past week there has a been an ongoing conversation in the local media about the strategic assessment of our downtown by Live Work Learn Play (LWLP), and in particular, their observations on the pervasive social issues we face as a community in our downtown core.


    Much of the language being used is inflammatory and divisive, and so we wanted to address the issue and the opportunity with you, our members, directly.


    As a board and a staff team at Downtown London, our job is to represent you and to continuously look at ways to make the downtown economic engine stronger. When our downtown economy is thriving, the City has more tax revenue to invest across the community, whether on neighbourhood improvements or on tackling social issues that affect us all.


    Unfortunately, the approach on this issue has quickly become one of division. For too long, London has suffered from an “us versus them” approach to community issues, and we urgently need to alter this approach.


    We cannot allow ourselves to be played into a corner, with a “business versus vulnerable people”, narrative. This is an opportunity to take a collaborative approach to addressing homelessness, addiction and mental health issues together, and to build a downtown and a community FOR EVERYONE.


    To do that, we must be clear and direct. There is a significant issue here. Just because this issue involves vulnerable people doesn’t mean we have to shy away from having the conversation. It has to be okay for our community to identify serious issues, to talk about them from multiple perspectives, and to work together to solve them.


    Long before the LWLP assessment, many local experts had voiced significant concerns about social issues in our downtown.


    Chief amongst those voices -- all of you.


    We hear you when you tell us that these issues affect traffic to your business.


    We hear you when you talk about how hard you work to be competitive and successful.


    We hear you when you say you are open to a coordinated and compassionate approach.


    We also heard you when, during our strategic planning process this year, you told us we need to recruit a greater diversity and quality of businesses to be your neighbours.


    With their track record as a North American leader in targeted leasing, LWLP is ideally suited to develop an action plan on business recruitment in our downtown.


    However, there is no point in recruiting new businesses if there are legitimate, outstanding problems that need to be resolved for you, our existing businesses. And the reality is, if we can’t get a community-driven solution, a recruitment plan simply won’t work.


    We hear you loud and clear. And we are not going to back down from our work to support you, even when rhetoric tries to divide us.


    If you would like to join the growing list of downtown businesses who are becoming advocates on this issue, please contact us.


    Janette MacDonald, CEO and General Manager


    Andrew Sercombe, Marketing Coordinator


    Lisa Thomas, Public Realm Coordinator

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