Residents fear corporate influx would threaten independent businesses in the area. Image via Wikimedia Commons
While there’s already been talk of a new Loblaws on College Street encroaching on Kensington Market, Walmart is now eyeing a spot on Bathurst Street nearby, further heightening residents’ concerns that local businesses will suffer at the hands of big-box development.
Real estate investors RioCan have outlined plans for a new, three-story building just west of the Market that would house a number of retailers including Walmart, the Toronto Star reports.
“It’s something which must be fought at every single corner and on every single street,” said Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) of the proposed development. “We cannot allow this kind of big box retail to cannibalize and destroy the downtown core.”
And local politicians aren’t the only ones RioCan’s plan has drawn scorn from. Dominique Russell, a Friends of Kensington Market organizer, said she was horrified by the possibility of a Walmart popping up in her neighbourhood. “If this proposal goes forward, it’s going to be a huge battle,” she said.
However, RioCan CEO Ed Sonshine said: “We think this is what fits with the neighbourhood.” He also said the building wouldn’t “look like a Walmart” and that the design is an “urban” take on the typical retail location.
A public meeting to discuss the proposal will take place at 7 p.m. on June 6, at the College St. United Church.
[via Toronto Star]
Josh Sherman is a Toronto Standard intern. You can follow him on Twitter at @joshuaxsherman.