The practitioners hired to help revitalize London’s downtown tabled a report at City Hall Monday night that calls on the city to tackle poverty and drug use in the core.
Live Work Learn Play presented the document to the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee which outlines nine steps the city should take, including cleaning up Market Lane, the pedestrian alley between Dundas Street and the Covent Garden Market.
“Downtown London is being known in the GTA as a place where people are coming who have problems of this nature,” said Live Work Learn Play project manager Joseph Milos.
“It’s something that needs to be tackled because it creates an economic dilemma, as well as a real estate problem in investment opportunity for your downtown.”
Live Work Learn Play recommends tackling poverty and drug use in the core in a holistic manner, stating it is a public health issue.
There were councillors who opposed the core’s damning review. Councillors Harold User and Phil Squire both spoke out against the idea of forcing people out of the area. Council agreed to ask staff to investigate a motion from Councillor Tanya Park to create a coordinated health strategy to help those in need in the downtown.
The report pointed to a need for more downtown development, but at the same time more heritage protection.
“There really does need to be a coordinator across all levels of stakeholders who can do that, and we think that needs to live with yourselves in the city because that sort of role is someone who can touch all the major transit projects, all the major investments and opportunities that present themselves, and can also align staff and stakeholders properly,” said Milos.
Councillors referred the idea of a coordinator back to staff for more information.
Live Work Learn Play has been investigating London’s downtown situation for the past four months, and will now spend the next 14 months working along stakeholders to implement new strategies.