It pains me to say it, but Murray Townsend’s recent comments about the grocery store situation in Milton may have inadvertently hit the nail on the head.
When I first moved here 13 years ago, I was a new mother with a husband who commuted to Toronto. Because we only had one car and I rarely felt like getting up early enough to drop him off at the GO station, I spent most of my weekdays without a vehicle. Happily, our house on Commercial Street was within easy walking distance of everything I needed - the post office, the bank, the drugstore, Harris Stationary, several parks, and most importantly, a fully stocked grocery store.
Today Quality Greens is gone, the A&P has moved out to the far edge of town, and Loblaw’s will soon be moving as well. The south end of town still has the Food Port and the very excellent La Rose, but both are considerably farther than I care to walk with armloads of groceries.
If this trend continues, the time will come when no one will be able to live in Milton without driving. The Milton Transit system is improving but is still focused mainly on getting people to and from the GO station, not the grocery store. And when people have to drive to get food they tend to drive to get everything, especially when all the other stores form a ring around town rather than a central core.
This is the kind of town planning that is killing the planet and making us all fat. It’s not just the housing developments or the Wal-Mart, although both contribute to the problem. No, it’s the exodus of grocery stores to the outskirts of town that will ultimately turn Milton into yet another suburban wasteland.
I can’t tell you what the solution is, or even if one is possible at this late date. I do know that Town Council should have moved heaven and earth to either help Quality Greens stay in business or ensure that it was replaced with another grocery store. As it stands, there are some beautiful boutique stores and many wonderful restaurants in downtown Milton, but without a grocery store to draw local people there on a daily basis I fear that it will become, at best, a quaint and lovely place to bring the relatives when they visit.
At worst it will become a ghost town.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
They Paved Paradise...
Here's my latest letter to the editor of the Milton Champion: