More big box stores on Laird a threat to Bayview shops?
As Leaside residents unite in opposition to the 147,000-square-foot SmartCentre application on Wicksteed Avenue, opinion from local business owners is mixed as to how another big box plaza would impact main street Bayview.
Karen McLellan, a long-time Leaside resident and manager of Oddjects, isn’t bothered by the prospect of a SmartCentre, even expressing optimism: “If it brings people into the neighbourhood that shop at my store, then I’m all for it,” she said.
Grant Allardyce of the Source Menswear, however, is concerned about the big box plaza attracting customers away from Bayview.
“Our little area of shops relies a lot on the parking availability, and I think this is another [shopping] option for customers — to be able to park without being harassed by local parking authorities,” he said.
Allardyce is one of the local business owners Coun. John Parker is currently working with to create a BIA that would promote the main street. As the city’s planning staff continues to review the application, a community working group has been formed to address concerns around the application, including the impact on traffic, density and local retail.