Vision of the future

View from the Strip
By Casey Lessard

I’ll admit that I don’t spend a lot of time in downtown Grand Bend in the winter. My home base is in Parkhill, and I am usually heading in the other direction, to Toronto, during the school year.
That’s why it was interesting to visit the strip April 2. The day was too beautiful not to see whether others would be soaking up the sun and getting sand stuck between their toes. They sure were. It felt like July.
More interesting, though, was seeing the main street construction that will be done by the time most people expected summer to start (i.e. not April). Regardless of what you think of the width of the road, the remake looks promising. The facelift was a long time coming.
I can understand why some people are nonplussed about the process. It makes life tougher if the road’s not wide enough. But let’s be honest. This construction is not to make life easier for drivers. It is for the walkers, and those using wheelchairs. In other words, it’s for the shoppers. Someday, that may even be you.
That will be some time from now, though, if you won’t go downtown while visitors run amok. If a town can’t sustain its downtown economy year-round solely on its residents, what do you expect? Businesses are going to continue to plan for the summer economy, and had people known it was going to be so beautiful Easter weekend, more businesses would have opened to serve the influx.
There’s no turning back on this downtown project, and we may have the best infrastructure around by this summer. With the new look, we may even be able to attract a few more downtown businesses that cater to locals, as most people say they want.
But it will take some more vision, like that of a select few (including Kazwear, which is finishing its own intriguing renovation), to get us to the point where the majority make a living off the residents instead of the visitors.
Is that right for Grand Bend? You tell me.