Western Fair Timelapse

Pop-up Fair: 7 days in 3 minutes

Source: The London Free Press

September 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

Region Not Happy After Large Transportation Analysis

Local politicians want to see Waterloo Region better represented in an analysis of long-term transportation needs at the provincial level.

Regional councillors voted last week to advise the Ministry of Transportation that a currently under development transportation strategy for the GTA and areas to the west “will not provide sufficient infrastructure for the long term to connect Waterloo Region, Wellington County and the City of Guelph to the Greater Toronto Area”.

The strategy aims to reduce congestion on Highway 401 by expanding the highway to 12 lanes near Mississauga, but the region takes issue with the lack of a new connection between Toronto and Waterloo Region.

“Any kind of incident on [the 401] would make it difficult for goods movements between the two areas and also commuter traffic,” said Graham Vincent, the region’s director of transportation planning.

The region is also lobbying the ministry to increase GO Transit train service to Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, include the region in an upcoming provincial traffic management study, and hold off on any final decisions until the completion of a Waterloo-Wellington-Brant regional transportation study.

“We believe that could go a long ways toward offloading some of the traffic congestion along the 401. We see that as a key element of the entire package,” said Vincent of GO Transit expansion.

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment

Rediscovering Dickson Street

These days there are few if any stores available on Dickson Street, as more businesses flock to the Galt core.

Ben Schmalz and Emily Pederson are the latest entrepreneurs to establish themselves on Dickson, opening One Rebellion just last week. It’s an upscale clothing store catering to people over the age of 30.

“We’ve had so much traffic this week and people are so happy to see the store because there is nothing else quite like it down here,” said manager Pederson.

“We grew up in Galt, and I was looking to expand the business,” said Schmalz, who also operates a store in Dundas. “I took a look around and I was impressed with the revitalization that’s taking place in downtown. I loved the architecture and the ambiance. It was the perfect fit for us.”

Merryn Edgar, Patricia Cooley and Jennifer Gralec all opened their businesses the same day two years ago and became known as the “Dickson chicks”, following a television story on their enterprises.

Edgar runs Gallery M, an art shop that features works of many local artists.

“We’ve been doing really well since we opened and today I just sold two paintings, so it’s a big day for us,” she said.

In each area of the shop, Edgar has worked to bring together pieces of art that complement each other. In a similar way, she said each of the new businesses on Dickson Street does the same thing.

“There is a good mix of businesses down here. We do a lot of cross promoting and a lot of scratching each others’ backs when we can,” she said.

When Jennifer Gralec returned to work after having children, she decided that if she had to be away from her girls it would be to do something she loved. Baking is her passion and Tiny Cakes, her baking boutique, is a labour of love.

Since opening in December 2010, Tiny Cakes has become a regular stop for many people working on Dickson Street.

Gralec, like many of the other new businesses on Dickson Street, has used social media to get the word out on their businesses.

“I religiously post on Facebook, so people know what’s going on.”

Re New owner Patricia Cooley knew she had the right place when she walked into the office.

“This is a great space and with that big front window, it just called to me,” she said.

Re New is a medical laser and skin care aesthetics business, operating on the second floor of 65 Dickson St., across from city hall.

When Edit Kasza decided to move from St. Catharines and open her new business, she looked no further than Cambridge.

“I came for a visit and I absolutely love it here, especially Galt. I love all the architecture. It’s like a tiny, tiny version of Budapest.”

Kasza opened Edit Design Inc. in November and says the outdoor/indoor kitchen studio is slowly getting going.

“It’s taken time, but people are discovering I’m here,” she said. “You really have to see my studio to understand what I do.”

Eighty per cent of her business comes from outside of Cambridge, so her studio is becoming a destination for clients.

Baldeep Duggal can say the same thing of Phildon Pens.

“We’re one of a handful of pen shops in the country. We have local clients, but we are a destination for people who love pens and paper.”

Phildon Pens has been on Dickson Street for four years and Duggal sees a difference with the new businesses arriving.

“They are all small business owners who all  have good business plans. They all try to offer unique products and good services. When you have small businesses there is a certain sense of pride that you don’t see in big box stores.”

Decorators Kim Turner and Michelle Jones, who met at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts, opened The Relique Studio on Dickson Street. After teaming up to refinish a dining room suite, the pair went for coffee at Tiny Cakes and their concept of opening a shop evolved.

“As we were talking we were watching people come into the shop and realized these people could all be our customers. That’s when we started looking for a shop,” Jones said.

The shop opened eight months ago and there is no lack of business.

Bill Schwarz has been practicing law and painting in the Galt core since 1969.

“We used to have our law office on Dickson Street and things are really changing. I think the work that David (Gibson) is doing on Main Street has brought a lot of attention to the downtown.

“I think we’ve seen more change in the last 18 months than we’ve seen in the last 40 years. It’s really great to see.”

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

Revamping A Galt Downtown Heritage Building

Remember the ‘Right House’? Which was then cladded in metal and became a Big V Drugmart, then a Shoppers Drugmart… and it is now being rejuvenated! The makeover is part of a large-scale revitalization project of the Galt core by developer David Gibson.

I can’t wait to see the end result!

September 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm 1 comment

Gearing Up For Roundabout Battle

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is ready to fight to keep roundabouts like this one on the Can-Amera Parkway from being built along the length of Franklin Boulevard in just two years. He plans to launch his battle at Tuesday’s council meeting.

I’M BACK!

What this councilor needs to do is his research regarding signalized roundabouts, and roundabout history in general. It’s time to move forward, not sit in traffic… I’ll even give him a little push. Amazing how Google can sometimes be your best friend. I personally drive roundabouts on a daily basis as I am a delivery driver and wish there were more of them in the region. The amount of time I sit at red lights in this Region is disheartening.

The only part I don’t agree with regarding the installation of these roundabouts is the cost factor. I’m sorry to hear that the Region has put a price tag on human lives, all in the name of saving money.

Traffic signals are much more costly than is commonly realized, even though they represent a sound public investment when justified. A modern signal can cost taxpayers between $80,000 and $100,000 [U.S. $] to install – depending on the complexity of the intersection and the characteristics of the traffic using it. On top of this, there is a perpetual cost which is almost never considered – the cost of the electrical power consumed in operating a signalized intersection 24 hours a day. This now averages about $1,400 per year.

Arizona Department of Transportation

Why not pay a little bit more to save a life? This way we don’t have to repeat the tragedy that happened near St. Mary’s high school, at the intersection of Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road.

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is mad as hell and is demanding that Waterloo Region listen to the wishes of people in Cambridge.

As council resumes after its summer hiatus, Ermeta will be bringing forward a motion to Cambridge council calling on it to condemn the region’s decision to set aside previously approved plans to gradually install roundabouts at 11 intersections on Franklin Boulevard in favour of completing all of them within two years.

“It’s very important that we fight for what’s right for Cambridge. People aren’t ready for this,” he said. “We’ve got to send a strong message to the region that we don’t want this.”

Since posting his notice of motion in July, Ermeta says he has been deluged with phone calls from people upset about the region’s plans.

“I’ve gotten overwhelming positive feedback from people in Cambridge,” he said. “I’ve even had calls from people in Kitchener and Waterloo supporting me. They aren’t fond of what’s happened with Ira Needles Boulevard.”

Another concern raised is that the volume of traffic on Franklin Boulevard may make it impossible for drivers to safely enter roundabouts from the sidestreets.

Ermeta also vehemently objects to plans to install a roundabout in front of St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.

“They installed a roundabout near St. Mary’s (High School) in Kitchener and it’s been a disaster,” Ermeta said. “I’m in favour of the status quo at Franklin and Saginaw. If anything, the lights should be extended there to give people more time to cross the street.”

Ideally, Ermeta wants Waterloo Region to go back to its original plan to install the first three roundabouts at the top of Franklin Boulevard and then take a year to evaluate.

The region initially supported that plan until transportation planning staff filed a report recommending all 11 roundabouts be installed over a two-year period to minimize disruption to traffic and cut costs. That recommendation was accepted, but the decision was far from unanimous.

“All three (Cambridge) representatives voted against the change. So did the mayors of North Dumfries, Woolwich and one of the other townships. It’s the K-W councillors that are telling Cambridge what to do.”

Ermeta’s motion calls on “Cambridge City Council to condemn the (May 16) decision made by the Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo”.

It further asks council to request that the regional council reconsider and approve a new motion similar to the original recommendation previously passed.”

rmartin@cambridgetimes.ca

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

London to host Creative City Summit

London is holding the three-day Creative City Summit starting today, an assembly of about 140 people passionate about making their communities more fun and more interesting. Livelier, healthier, smarter.

A creative city is one that “people of all ages and ethnicities feel proud to call home,” said Robin Armistead, London’s manager of culture and an organizer of the conference. “What makes your city liveable — that’s what it’s all about.”

When e-technology allows people to move almost anywhere their ideas will take them, creative cities are about drawing them to a place where they can live.

That translates into bold new buildings and repurposed old ones, lively restaurants, cool businesses, brilliant nature, and an economy built on vision.

More information can be found here.

Source: LFPress.com

May 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

Richmond Row Restaurants Close

Two mainstay restaurants on London’s Richmond Row are closed, but a white knight is knocking on the door.

TJ Baxter's

T.J. Baxter’s and Oscar Taylor’s, which debuted in 1991, have been closed since New Year’s Eve and plans to shut them down have been in place for at least a few weeks.

Those who supplied beer and food to those eateries were told their services wouldn’t be needed in the new year, restaurant industry sources say.

This week, employees were also told of the closings.

But while the news seemed dire for what may be the most prosperous retail strip in London, it appears good news is just around the corner.

The same sources that say T.J. Baxter’s and Oscar Taylor’s are out believe a national player will replace them SIR Corp., whose restaurants include Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill.

Those beliefs gained traction Tuesday when officials associated with SIR Corp. were seen taking measurements in T.J. Baxter’s.

Neither officials with SIR Corp. nor the building’s owner responded Tuesday to Free Press interview requests.

Yay, more chain food!

Source: London Free Press

January 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

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