Strength Location Proximity to Water Walkability Heritage Buildings Weakness Limited Selection of businesses Seasonal (Winter) Minimal Parking Heritage of Crime and Poverty Opportunity Inventory of Industrial Buildings Underutilised Municipal Assets Business Improvement Association Emerging “Arts Scene” Threats Suburban Development Bureaucratic red tape
-No Strong Anchor Tenants -Limited Hours of Operation -Very few Offices/White Collar Employers -Low week day traffic (Mon-Fri 9-5) -Just one Bank, no post office, no grocery, no pharmacy -Limited Retail selection -Low “permeability” low volume of customers on a daily basis -Inconsistent Operating Hours Result – Few Pedestrians, no vibrancy, not sustainable for mainstream business
-Poor winter transportation for pedestrians cyclists and transit users. -Snow banks block access to on street parking -Hilly Hespeler streets and sidewalks are precarious with ice -No winter festivals after Santa Clause Parade in early December -Few opportunities or reasons to “play outside” Result – Fewer pedestrians and customers. Business declines significantly or ceases altogether.
-Perception: There is “no parking” in Hespeler. -Reality: On Street Parking is free for 2 hours -There are several free city lots, well distributed throughout the core -Few areas for long term parking or daily parking for employers, employees or residents Result – Many business discount Hespeler Village as a viable location and opt for sub urban office or retail space instead.
-Poorly maintained Industrial buildings on the Northern Entrance on Guelph -Run down houses and poorly maintained streetscape on Queen Street West -Poorly demarcated pedestrian trails
Inventory of City Assets in Hespeler Village Buildings -Old City Hall/Fire Station -City Works Yard Jacobs Landing West -Hespeler Library -Field House in Forbes Park Parks -Forbes Park -Cenotaph at Queen/Tannery -Jacobs Landing West and West -2 Gazebo’s on Queen St East -Public Docks at Little Riverside Park Parking Lots -Lots H1 through H4 as indicated
-BIA mandate is to promote and beautify Hespeler Village -City funded board via BIA Tax Levy. -Annual Budget of $15K -Progressive members have a track record of effective program implementation -Social Media: 1,000+ Facebook followers -BIA sign improvement grants -Street Banners, Christmas lights, flower baskets etc -Effective Lobbying and fund raising
Hespeler’s public graffiti wall Hespeler’s cheap rent, urban amenities and proximity to the river and trails is attracting a small but extremely active community of artists, designers and musicians. Clustered artistic activity such as this is often a precursor to main stream development.
-Lax planning disciplines and retail standards have resulted in the flight retail and office space to highly car dependant suburban locations -Small to medium sized developments are disbursed with little to no incentive for intensification and urbanisation Result – Homogenous blandness with no sense of place or community identity.
Hespeler is filled with possibilities for architectural re-use projects. Zoning limitations, flood plain issues, soil contamination and aging infrastructure need to be addressed in a creative and constructive way. The traditional municipal approach of rigidity and risk mitigation will stifle growth and result in lost opportunity. For Hespeler to fully realise its potential the private and public sector need to partner and embrace the “Art of the possible”