New 'Action Plan' targets social issues in London's core
LONDON, Ont. - A bold new strategy from city hall to address the challenges facing some of London's central business areas has been unveiled.
The Core Area Action Plan (CAAP) responds to growing concerns about social issues, specifically in four areas of focus.
They include homelessness, safety, the business environment and attracting more people.
Specifically, the city is targeting those issues in the downtown, midtown and Old East Village.
The report reads in part, "Despite extensive investment in the London's Core Area, issues persist that threaten its long-term success."
After consulting with numerous stakeholders, staff are recommending 69 actions in the report.
They fall into three categories; short term (six months), medium term (six months to a year) and long term (one to two years).
Among the ideas are a short-term boost to bylaw enforcement and an increase in police foot patrols for a defined period of time.
The report also calls for an extension of the existing Informed Response Program addressing street-level homelessness to include the early morning hours.
In addition, incentive programs to help improve the business environment in those neighbourhoods are recommended.
No total price tag has yet been attached to CAAP, but staff say many strategies will be executed within existing budgets.
Still, implementing the full plan may require more than $3 million in additional funding.
Neigbouring businesses feeling left out
The program defines the south boundary of the core area as the rail line along York Street, leaving some SOHO business owners feeling left out.
Dean Soufan just repaired his front window facing Wellington Street for the fifth time, “They are not giving us any attention here, and I don't know why it’s not including our area.”
But City Manager Martin Hayward says the plan and its boundaries can evolve, “If we can address the issues in the core, then likely we are going to address many of their issues as well. But also the plan is flexible, so if we see things spring up in other areas, we will adapt.”