A Few Thoughts on Week 40

  • A special holiday episode of Mean, Median and Moose drops before Xmas! Where we do 12 datasets of Christmas. So keep a watch out!
  • If you click on one link this week it should be this short read on the value of manual labour.
    • Then think about migrant workers in greenhouses in Leamington.
    • The call centre staff working phonelines and computer systems as a part of our region’s diversification strategy in 2012-15 coming out the recession and Sutherland Global Services is now the 4th largest private sector employer in our community.
    • Obviously all of the service staff at stores stocking shelves and manning cashiers.
  • In the same vein, Sarah Mushtaq’s great column is back again speaking to some of the local young deaths, racialized populations and data during COVID.
  • It is expected next week that the Ford Government will announce the moving forward of the GTA West Highway (413). To my knowledge it is one of the biggest highway projects since the 407.
  • In a big announcement a boutique grocery store is opening downtown. This is big news, it could be a bit of a bell weather for revitalization of Downtown. That being said, there are challenges that have to be considered.
  • The above map, shows various stores where food can be accessed in what I would define as the downtown. This was a very crude scan, it is possible I missed a store or two. I didn’t include Erie street and I know there are a number of food service stores in that area as well but it might be “too far” for downtown residents.
    • In green are convenience stores where generally speaking – staple food stuffs – Bread, Milk etc. can be purchased. Some of which have been highlighted by the BIA as providing groceries.
    • Red are various grocery stores which I define as carrying fresh product – produce, meat and specialty goods etc.
    • Blue are chain stores (Food Basics and Shoppers). Shoppers is interesting not only do they offer select groceries but their points’ program potentially pulls people from downtown to Superstores.
  • What I takeaway from this is that when people say that downtown needs a grocery store, it really doesn’t. Arguably you could get high quality groceries, satisfying a wide range of menus and diets, if you made multiple stops. What the perceived need is, is for a “Western” grocery store that fits the traditional grocer mindset. Hopefully the owners of the existing grocers also get their share of praise for revitalizing downtown.
  • I think the boutique nature of the grocery store is also interesting. I’ve seen stats that indicate that prices at smaller “boutique” grocery stores being ranging between 10-20% higher than “Big box” grocery stores.
    • Given that low-income rates in downtown were pushing 50% (and higher depending on the specific boundary you use at the time of the 2016 Census) at what price point will this boutique store operate. We saw boutique grocers close in Walkerville, which is one of the richest neighbourhood in the city.
    • If the grocer is bringing in high quality and local produce, another thing to think about is the impact on the Farmers’ Market? The DTWF in my patronage of it in the past few years has changed from being a “Farmers Market” to more of a craft/food vendor market. I still love it and go many Saturdays but I find myself seeing and buying less and less produce there.
    • I expect there will be pre-made foods as well to “grab and go” to meet needs of students and working professionals in the core.
  • I look forward to shopping at the store and am hoping they have a good butcher counter.
  • Toronto Community Housing Corp put forward a plan to provide internet to all of its tenants. Given that we like to talk about connectivity and partnerships in our community it would be great if to see something like this happen here.
  • The above table are the reported tax increases for our local municipalities as of right now. With Windsor receiving $19M it will be interesting to see what that does to the tax rate in the City. I could certainly see some tension between wanting to pre-invest to help with potential recovery of COVID vs “holding the line” as some municipalities have done.
    • Amherstburg took their pre-budget estimate of a tax increase from over 7% down to a modest 2.03%. Councilor McArthur provides a summary of their investments.
    • You also have to remember that inflation in Canada over the last 12 months has been about 0.9%, meaning any increase blow that is not keeping up with rising costs (on average).
  • You will notice that the charts above appear to have flattened as the last week’s spike in cases have caused the Y-axis to extend, flattening the curves (in the wrong direction) for the tracking over the summer.
    • Although rumours have it that an enhanced lockdown is coming, it won’t be soon enough. A Boxing Day lockdown that continues into January will mean curves will start to flatten two weeks after the concerted effort begins. In otherwords, it could be February before real downward tends and impacts are seen.
    • Obviously 2020, continues to deliver with a new mutation of COVID-19 cropping up in Britain which spreads much more efficiently than the standard version. (Much to my frustration, I can’t seem to centre tweets….)
  • Izzy has the right idea…. I call this the “The fuck is that over there”

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