To the editor,
Lis van Berkel's article "Where Goes the Neighborhood" (April 12) presents the issue of gentrification in bold black and white. After years of abandonment and neglect, commerce is returning to this once-popular part of the city. If you were to ask people living in this area how they felt about it, they would probably communicate relief, support and frustration that more is not being done to make the neighborhood more desirable.
The perspective I have is not so black and white. I am not for or against gentrification as defined in the article. To be part of a community is more than living or working there; it involves supporting and giving back to it.
Maintaining the status quo is not the answer. Dilapidated buildings, drug dealers, prostitutes and garbage should not have to be part of the equation in order for neighbourhoods to be affordable. Diversity is key.
Spray painting "Get the hell out" on my property, when I have lived and paid taxes in this neighborhood since 1983, longer than the spray-painters have been alive, seems ironic. It also seems HCAP is only interested in information that supports their agenda. If anyone from that organization were to ask, they'd find we offer haircuts for $30 and a cup of coffee for $1.75, prices consistent with other establishments in the neighbourhood.
I haven't stayed in this neighbourhood because I have taken it on as a cause. I'm here because I love it. As the chair of the Commons North Business Cultural Association, where our mission is to support growth and diversity that reflects and strengthens our community, I hope other organizations feel the way I do.
By Fred Connors