Petition against Erie development presented
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Feb 26, 2007  |  Vote 0    0

Petition against Erie development presented

Stratford Gazette

Local businessman Brian Blowes delivered a petition opposing Erie lot development to council Monday.

The petition - bearing over 4,000 names - was given to the city after a brief presentation by Blowes, who said it was clear residents did not favour the development.

"These people are asking you to listen to them and to not proceed with this development," said Blowes.

Of the 4,207 names on the petition, 3,634 of the signatures came from those living in Stratford, 33 per cent of the 11,000 taxpayers in the city, said Blowes.

"Arguably, these are the most important people you as a local council should listen to," he said.

Others were from out of town - 186 from Michigan, Ohio, Toronto, London and Kitchener and 387 from the surrounding area, including St. Marys, Tavistock, Mitchell, Shakespeare and Sebringville.

"The remaining category, primarily tourists, also must not be ignored as they are the current and future theatre patrons and customers of Stratford's business," said Blowes. "Both of these groups of people help to keep Stratford's economy going."

He challenged any person to come forward with a list of 4,200 people who want to see development on the lot.

Responding to previous statements by Coun. Howard Famme that the petition was negatively worded, Blowes said the question was clear.

"It stated, 'I oppose any development on the downtown Erie Street lot'," Blowes said. "The accompanying signage with the petitions was also not misleading...it said, 'It could cost you more to park and you may have to park five floors up.' These two points are facts."

The petition, started June 12 by a group of Wellington Street merchants and property owners, were made available at several downtown businesses. Blowes said no door-to-door canvassing took place and many people stopped into stores specifically seeking the petitions.

"I think this is the strongest argument for ending the process right now and voting to leave the Erie Street lot in its present state as a fully functional and accessible surface parking lot," he said. "Listening to the opinions of taxpayers of Stratford should be your first priority."

Last week, the city centre committee announced results of a member survey, which showed support for the construction of a tiered parking garage and residential development, rather than a hotel.

Fifty-nine members, or about 18 per cent, responded to the survey, with 331 distributed.

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