Transcript: How to Save Main Street | Aug 06, 2018

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a blue blazer over a white shirt.

A caption on screen reads "How to save Main Street. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

NAM SAYS IN JUST OVER TWO MONTHS,
ONTARIANS GO TO THE POLLS AGAIN.
AND IN SMALL AND MID-SIZE
CITIES, ONE OF THE BIG ISSUES IS
BOUND TO BE HOW TO KEEP MAIN
STREET SUCCESSFUL, EVEN AS THE
RETAIL AND INDUSTRIAL
UNDERPINNINGS OF REGIONAL
ECONOMIES CHANGE.
HERE TO SHARE HIS CITY'S
EXPERIENCE:
CHRIS FRIEL, MAYOR OF BRANTFORD,
ONTARIO.

Chris is in his late forties, with short blond hair and a ginger beard. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit and a blue shirt.

Nam says WELCOME.
HELLO, YOUR WORSHIP [CHUCKLES].

Chris says HELLO, HOW ARE YOU?

NAM SAYS OR SHOULD I CALL YOU MAYOR FRIEL?

Chris says YOU KNOW WHAT, HONESTLY, CALL ME CHRIS.

NAM SAYS WHAT DO YOU PREFER?

Chris says JUST CALL ME CHRIS.
OR CALL ME MAYOR CHRIS; THAT
WOULD BE GOOD TOO.

Nam says OK, GREAT.
IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.
FOR SOMEBODY WHO'S WATCHING THE
SHOW WHO DOESN'T REALLY
UNDERSTAND WHAT A MAIN STREET
IS, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE
MAIN STREET ONTARIO?

The caption changes to "Chris Friel. Mayor of Brantford."

Chris says YOU KNOW, IF YOU HAD OF ASKED ME
THAT QUESTION 25 YEARS AGO,
I PROBABLY COULD HAVE TOLD YOU
SOMETHING DIFFERENT,
BUT THAT... THE LAST 25 YEARS
HAS BEEN AN EVOLUTION.
BUT MAIN STREET IS REALLY STILL
THE HEART OF THE DOWNTOWN OR
OF... USUALLY IN A DOWNTOWN.
AND IT IS THE HEART OF THE CITY.
YOU SHOULD HAVE COMMERCIAL,
RESIDENTIAL.
YOU HAVE A LOT OF ACTIVITY.
AND YOU REALLY WANT TO HAVE THAT
SENSE IN A COMMUNITY THAT YOU
HAVE A STRONG, VIBRANT
MAIN STREET.

Nam says WELL, YOU'RE HERE TO TALK TO US
ABOUT YOUR CITY... BRANTFORD, ONTARIO.
AND WE WOULD LIKE TO SHOW A MAP
SO PEOPLE KNOW WHERE IT IS.

A map of Ontario appears, highlighting the location of Brantford, southwest of Hamilton and south of Cambridge.

Nam says BRANTFORD, ONTARIO IS 100
KILOMETRES SOUTHWEST OF TORONTO.
IT'S CLOSE TO KITCHENER,
HAMILTON, AND THE U.S. BORDER.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Brantford by numbers."

Nam reads data from the slate and says
IT HAS A POPULATION OF 98,996.
IT IS 99.63 SQUARE KILOMETRES IN SIZE.
IT HAS TEN CITY COUNCILLORS.
AND YOU FIRST SERVED AS MAYOR
FROM 1994-2003.

CHRIS SAYS YEAH.

NAM SAYS AND THEN YOU SERVED AGAIN
FROM 2010 TO THE PRESENT.

Chris says RIGHT.

Nam says AND YOU ACTUALLY ONCE DESCRIBED
BRANTFORD AS HAVING THE WORST
DOWNTOWN IN CANADA.

Chris says YEAH, AND WE DID.

NAM SAYS WHAT WAS WRONG?

The caption changes to "Downtowns at the crossroads."

Chris says WHAT WAS GOING ON THERE?
WE WERE ABNORMALLY LARGE
DOWNTOWN, BECAUSE WE WERE VERY,
VERY LARGE INDUSTRIAL COMMUNITY
FOR... EVEN WITH OUR POPULATION,
FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.
AND OUR DOWNTOWN REFLECTED THAT,
SO WE HAD AREAS... COLBORNE STREET
WHICH IS CONSIDERED TO BE
OUR... WOULD BE CONSIDERED OUR
MAIN STREET... WE HAD 43 PRETTY MUCH EMPTY
BUILDINGS THAT WERE IN... A LOT OF
THEM PRE-CONFEDERATION,
CONFEDERATION.
THEY JUST DIDN'T HAVE A LOT
GOING FOR THEM.
AND BRANTFORD, WE HAD A
DIFFERENT SCENARIO TOO BECAUSE
COLBORNE STREET, THEY'RE BUILT
INTO THE BANK OF AN OLD LAKEBED,
AND THEY USED TO BE SEVEN
STOREYS DOWN THE BACK, AND A
BARGE TURNAROUND FROM THE 1840S,
'50S.
AND THERE USED TO BE CANALS AND
EVERYTHING THAT RAN ALONG THE
BACK OF OUR BUILDINGS, SO THEY
WERE DESIGNED IN A VERY
PARTICULAR WAY, AND VERY HARD TO
MANAGE.

Nam says WELL, WHEN THAT HAPPENS TO A
CITY LIKE BRANTFORD, WHAT DOES
THAT TO DO TO THE PSYCHE OF THE
COMMUNITY THERE?

Chris says IT... REALLY, IT TAKES IT AWAY.
YOU BECOME DEFEATED BASED ON THE
DOWNTOWN.
I SAY IF YOU GET A BLOCK OF... IF
YOU'VE GOT A BLOCK OF SIX, SEVEN
BUILDINGS, AND YOU HAVE TWO OF
THEM THAT ARE EMPTY, IT'S LIKE
BAD TEETH OR ROTTEN APPLES, IT
SPREADS.
AND YOU HAVE TO BE VERY, VERY
CONSCIOUS OF THAT AND LOOKING AT
THAT.

Nam says AND IT'S... RIGHT NOW, IT'S CHANGED.
IT'S VERY DIFFERENT.
BRANTFORD IS ON A LOT OF LISTS
AS ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO
LIVE IN ONTARIO.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING ONE
OF THE CLOGS, I GUESS, THAT MADE
THAT HAPPEN?

Chris says ME PERSONALLY?

NAM SAYS YES.

The caption changes to "Brantford's story."

Chris says AS MAYOR, WHEN YOU WERE...
YOU KNOW WHAT, I DON'T KNOW THAT
I COULD... OTHER THAN THE VISION
AND THE DRIVE AND THE FACT I
NEVER TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER... OR
SOMETIMES YES ISN'T EVEN THE
RIGHT ANSWER... BUT IT'S
REALLY... IT'S THE COMMUNITY.
YOU HAVE TO DRAW IN EVERYBODY.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE; YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR
MEDIA ON SIDE WITH YOU; YOU HAVE
TO HAVE THE BUSINESSES THAT ARE
IN THE AREA; AND THEN YOUR
COUNCIL HAS TO BE ON BOARD AS WELL.
SO, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE FOR A
COMMUNITY TO REALLY WORK OR
FUNCTION ON... WORK ON ITS
DOWNTOWN WITHOUT HAVING ALL OF
THOSE FACTORS AT PLAY.

NAM SAYS NOW, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE
BRANTFORD, ONTARIO, FOR
SOMEONE WHO'S NEVER BEEN THERE?

Chris says WE HAVE THE MOST REVITALIZED AND
PROBABLY THE MOST INVESTED
DOWNTOWN OF ANY COMMUNITY OF OUR
SIZE IN THIS PROVINCE.
AND WE ATTRACTED LAURIER
BRANTFORD IN 1999... SO IT'S
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY; WE
CALL IT LAURIER BRANTFORD... AND
THEN NIPISSING, AND NOW
CONESTOGA COLLEGE IS COMING IN
IN A BIG WAY AS WELL.
SO WE HAVE AN URBAN CAMPUS,
3,000 STUDENTS DOWNTOWN,
AND THEN THAT CREATES ALL THESE
RESIDENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES,
THAT CREATES ALL THESE
COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES.
AND WE'RE JUST SEEING GROWTH AND
ACTIVITY IN THE DOWNTOWN.
WE'VE GOT TWO APARTMENT
BUILDINGS THAT ARE ON THE BOOKS
RIGHT NOW THAT PEOPLE ARE
STARTING TO IDENTIFY THAT WE
NEED TO BE ABLE TO HAVE MORE
RESIDENTIAL, PEOPLE LIVING IN
THAT KIND OF SPACE.
AND WE HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT, AND
FOR THE LONGEST TIME, WE HAD
THOUGHT, "WE'RE NEVER GOING TO
SEE THAT KIND OF ACTIVITY,"
BUT JUST IN THE LAST TWO
OR THREE YEARS, BECAUSE
OF HOW SUCCESSFUL WE'VE BEEN,
NOW WE HAVE THESE DEVELOPERS
THAT ARE COMING IN GOING,
"OK, WE WANT TO PUT A CONDO APARTMENT HERE.
WE WANT TO GET INVOLVED MORE."

Nam says HOW DO YOU BALANCE... I READ AN
ARTICLE ABOUT BURLINGTON, ONTARIO...
WHERE, YOU KNOW, BUSINESSES
THAT HAD BEEN THERE FOR A VERY
LONG TIME WERE... THEY NOW FELT
LIKE THEY WERE BEING PUSHED OUT
BY DEVELOPERS OF CONDOMINIUMS.
SO HOW DO YOU BALANCE, YOU KNOW,
WANTING THIS NEW DEVELOPMENT
WHILE TRYING TO KEEP THE OLD
CHARM OF THE MAIN STREET?

Chris says SEE, THIS COMES DOWN TO... CAN I
BE CRITICAL OF THE PAST GOVERNMENT?

NAM SAYS OF COURSE.

[BOTH CHUCKLE]

Chris says THIS COMES DOWN TO THESE... THE
DENSITY AND INTENSIFICATION
NUMBERS THAT EVERYBODY'S BEING
HIT WITH.
SO FOR OUR DOWNTOWN, WE HAVE
ABOUT 2,600 RESIDENTS, AND WE
HAVE ABOUT 5,000 PEOPLE WHO WORK
DOWNTOWN EVERY DAY.
IF WE WERE TO HIT THE DENSITY
INTENSIFICATION NUMBERS THAT THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO LAID OUT FOR
US, FOR OUR DOWNTOWN ALONE,
WE WOULD HAVE TO
ADD 12,000 PEOPLE.
SO, HOW DO YOU GO FROM 2,000
RESIDENTS AND THEN 5,000 PEOPLE
DURING THE DAY... WHICH IS THE
JOB... SO 7,000, YOU'VE GOT TO
ALMOST DOUBLE THAT AGAIN.
OR ADD TWO-THIRDS, I GUESS.
BUT IT'S RIDICULOUS, THE AMOUNT
OF WHAT WE'RE BEING TOLD WE HAVE
TO DO.
AND HONESTLY, IF WE WERE TO HIT
THOSE DENSITY OR INTENSIFICATION
NUMBERS, IF BURLINGTON WERE TO
DO IT... AND I KNOW MAYOR
GOLDRING, WE SIT AT THE LARGE
URBAN CAUCUS TOGETHER AT AMO,
SO WE SEE EACH OTHER OFTEN... AND
HE AND I HAVE HAD THIS EXACT
CONVERSATION... YOU... IF YOU HIT THOSE DENSITY
NUMBERS, YOU LITERALLY WILL
DESTROY THAT COMMUNITY, THAT
NEIGHBOURHOOD OF THE DOWNTOWN.
IT IS NOT FUNCTIONAL TO TAKE
TORONTO-BASED DENSITY NUMBERS... THAT ARE DESIGNED FOR THE
GTHA... WHICH THE ENTIRE PROVINCE
IS... BUT DESIGNED FOR THE GTHA,
AND THEN TRY AND PUT IT INTO
COMMUNITIES ALL AROUND.
IT... THE NUMBERS...

Nam says IT'S NOT THE SAME THING?

CHRIS SAYS THEY DON'T WORK.

Nam says WELL, YOU'RE ON THE BOARD OF THE
ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPALITIES, ONTARIO...
JUST TO PICK UP ON WHAT YOU
WERE JUST SAYING.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT CHALLENGES
THE MAIN STREETS IN THIS
PROVINCE CURRENTLY FACE?

Chris says YOU'RE SEEING THE COMMERCIAL
DEVELOPMENTS OUTSIDE ON THE
SUBURBS HITTING THE HIGHWAYS.
THAT IS WHERE PEOPLE'S PATTERNS
ARE NOW, IN... BY WAY OF SHOPPING.
SO, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SEE A
COMMUNITY LIKE OURS WITH
100,000, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SEE
IT RETURN TO A COMMERCIAL HUB
THE WAY THAT IT USED TO BE.
BUT TEN MINUTES DOWN THE ROAD
FROM US IS PARIS, ONTARIO WHICH
IS A COMMUNITY OF
13,000... PRETTIEST LITTLE TOWN IN
ONTARIO, AND QUITE HONESTLY...

NAM SAYS BUT NEXT TO BRANTFORD, RIGHT?

[CHUCKLES]

Chris says IT'S... NO, IT'S THE PRETTIEST
LITTLE TOWN.
THEY'RE 13,000.
WE'RE LARGER.
BUT... AND THEY ALSO HAVE SIMPLY
THE BEST PATIO AT STILLWATERS OF
ANY PATIO IN THIS PROVINCE.
BANG-ON GUARANTEE.

[NAM CHUCKLES]

Chris says SO, BUT THEY HAVE A MAIN STREET
THAT IS STILL HEALTHY AND HAPPY
AND VIBRANT.
THEY'VE BEEN ABLE TO PUT
COMMERCIAL ON THE OUTSIDE.
BUT THE REASON THEY CAN KEEP IT
TOGETHER IS BECAUSE THEY'VE GOT
A LARGE URBAN CENTRE RIGHT NEXT
TO THEM, SO A LOT OF THAT
ACTIVITY JUST GOES TO BRANTFORD.
SO, THEY CAN KEEP A LOVELY
LITTLE MAIN STREET.
AND WITH FULL BUILDINGS, A LOT
OF LOCAL... IT'S PREDOMINANTLY
LOCAL THERE.
SO, YOU CAN SEE IT IN SMALLER
COMMUNITIES WHERE IT IS
MUCH... WE'RE MUCH MORE ABLE TO
SEE DOWNTOWNS SURVIVE AND GROW
AND THRIVE THE WAY THAT PEOPLE
TRADITIONALLY THINK OF THEM.
BUT NOW WITH LARGER
MUNICIPALITIES, WE STRUGGLE TO
EVEN MANAGE.
COMMERCIAL... LARGE COMMERCIAL
GROUPS DON'T WANT TO GO DOWNTOWN
IN THE SAME WAY.
WITH A UNIVERSITY POPULATION, WE
WERE ABLE TO GET EVEN A TIM
HORTONS STARTED SHOWING THE UP,
THE WORKS... THE HAMBURGER
PLACE... STARTED SHOWING UP.
BUT THEN THERE WAS ALSO A LOT
MORE... MANY, MANY, MANY MORE
LOCAL BUSINESSES THAT OPENED UP.
AND SITTING ON THE AMO BOARD,
YOU SEE COMMUNITIES IN THE EAST
AND IN THE NORTH THAT ARE TRYING
TO DEAL WITH THE SAME KINDS OF
ISSUES, BUT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO
HAVE THE SAME KIND OF GROWTH
PATTERNS THAT WE ARE GOING
TO... THAT WE SEE, BEING AS CLOSE
TO THE GTHA.
SO, THEY HAVE TO REALLY GET INTO
A POSITION OF BEING ABLE TO
MAINTAIN THAT SMALLER FEEL, THAT
CHARM THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT.

Nam says NOW WITH ALL THE DEVELOPMENT
THAT'S HAPPENING IN BRANTFORD,
ARE THERE HERITAGE BUILDINGS IN
THE CITY THAT YOU WANT TO SAVE?

Chris says WE HAVE... THERE'S A NUMBER OF
HERITAGE BUILDINGS DOWNTOWN THAT
ARE DESIGNATED.
WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF HAVING A
DISCUSSION ABOUT A
BUILDING... THERE'S AN APARTMENT
THAT WANTS TO GO UP.
THERE IS A VERY OLD
BUILDING... NOT... IT WAS ORIGINALLY
A HOUSE, AND IT'S GOING TO COME
DOWN.
IT'S IN TERRIBLE SHAPE.
IT'S BEEN ALLOWED TO
DETERIORATE.
IN THAT SITUATION, WE ALLOW IT.
BUT WHEN WE... EVEN TALKING ABOUT
THE DENSITY AND INTENSIFICATION
NUMBERS FROM THE PROVINCE, IT
MEANS WE'RE TEARING DOWN
BUILDINGS.
THERE'S NO WAY TO MEET THOSE
TARGETS WITHOUT RIPPING OUT YOUR
HERITAGE AND PUTTING IN
APARTMENT BUILDINGS ALL THROUGH
THE DOWNTOWN.

Nam says SOME PEOPLE MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND
WHY THERE WOULD BE A NEED TO
SAVE HERITAGE BUILDINGS.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

Chris says WELL, WE HAVE... THE FIRST
LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALL WAS
BETWEEN BRANTFORD AND
PARIS... ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL.
WE HAVE ALL OF THESE CONNECTIONS
AND BUILDINGS, AND SOME OF
THEM... FOR US, WE HAVE THE
FEDERAL BUILDING WHICH WAS BUILT
IN 1913, LARGE FEDERAL BUILDING,
COMMUNITY OF OUR SIZE.
WE JUST PURCHASED IT TO TURN IT
INTO THE NEW CITY HALL.

A picture shows the building, located on a corner, with four French-style stories and a clock tower in the middle.

Chris says IT'S A DESIGNATED BUILDING; WE
WANTED TO PROTECT IT.
AND INSTEAD OF ALLOWING IT TO
DETERIORATE OR TO GO OFF AND GET
CUT UP INTO... INTO APARTMENT
BUILDINGS AND SUCH, WE WANTED TO
REPURPOSE IT FOR THAT KIND OF
USE AGAIN.
THE OLDEST BUILDING IN THE
DOWNTOWN IS NOW A PUB.
IT WAS A BLACKSMITH SHOP.
IT WAS 1848 THAT IT WAS BUILT
ORIGINALLY.
YOU CAN STILL GO IN THE BASEMENT
AND SEE THE LOGS THAT WERE USED...

NAM SAYS THE HISTORY OF THAT
BUILDING, YEAH.

Chris says AND I AM A HISTORY NUT.
I MEAN, EVERYBODY IN THE CITY
KNOWS IT.
I KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE
COMMUNITY.
I SHOULD HAVE GOT MY DEGREE IN
HISTORY INSTEAD OF POLITICAL
SCIENCE, SO I KNOW THE
BUILDINGS.
I KNOW... AND THERE ARE SOME JUST
LOVELY BUILDINGS THAT ARE SO
SIMPLE TO REPURPOSE NOW.
AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE GET
THIS THING WITH HERITAGE
BUILDINGS WHERE IT'S LIKE, "OH,
OLD BUILDING, TEAR IT DOWN.
CAN'T BE SAVED."
BUT YOU CAN REPURPOSE THESE
BUILDINGS FOR CHEAPER AND HAVE
A... ADD ANOTHER HUNDRED YEARS TO
IT.
IT'S REMARKABLE TO BE ABLE TO
SAY THAT YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH
THAT.
SO KEEPING THE HERITAGE, AND I
THINK THE CULTURE, PARTICULAR TO
YOUR DOWNTOWN... SO OUR COTTAGE IS
NORTH OF PARRY SOUND.
LUMBERJACK DAYS, BOBBY ORR
MUSEUM AT THE STOCKEY.
IT'S OUTSIDE OF THE DOWNTOWN,
BUT WE GO DOWNTOWN ALL THE TIME.
AND I INSIST ON IT, BECAUSE I'M
A MUNICIPAL POLITICIAN.
BUT YOU GO IN THERE, AND THEY
REFLECT THEIR HISTORY AND THEIR
CULTURE, AND THEY STILL HAVE THE
TRAIN BRIDGE GOING OVER.
EVERYTHING YOU LOVE ABOUT THAT
COMMUNITY... IS THEY'VE RESPECTED THEIR
CULTURE AND WHERE THEY CAME
FROM.
AND IT'S WHEN COMMUNITIES GET
AWAY FROM THAT, WHERE THEY THINK
THEY WANT TO BE SOMETHING ELSE,
"OK, WE'VE GOT TO BE A 21ST
CENTURY CITY NOW, SO WE'RE ALL
GOING HIGH TECH, IT'S...

NAM SAYS AND YOU MISS THE CHARM, RIGHT?

Chris says YOU MISS THE...
BUT YOU ALSO MISS THE FOUNDATION
OF WHAT GOT YOU THERE
ORIGINALLY.
AND YOU HAVE TO BUILD ON THAT
FOUNDATION.
YOU CAN'T JUST CUT IT OFF ALL OF
A SUDDEN AND SAY, "WE'RE GOING
IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DIRECTION."

Nam says WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC SPACES?

Chris says WELL, PUBLIC SPACES WAS A BIG
DEAL FOR ME BECAUSE IT'S... WE
LOST OUR CIVIC SQUARE WHEN
THEY... IN THE '80S, THE
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT... WHOEVER
THAT WAS AT THE TIME... BILL
DAVIS, I THINK... DEVELOPED A
PROGRAM CALLED THE ODRP,
WHICH WAS THE ONTARIO DOWNTOWN
REDEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.
AND SEVEN MALLS WERE SET UP IN
DOWNTOWNS.
SO WE GOT ONE;
KITCHENER-WATERLOO GOT ONE;
I THINK GUELPH GOT ONE; SARNIA.
SO, THERE WAS A WHOLE BUNCH OF
COMMUNITIES THAT HAD BEEN
STRUGGLING, AND TAKING A
SUBURBAN CONCEPT WHICH IS AN
ISLAND OF SHOPPING SURROUNDED BY
A SEA OF PARKING, AND STICKING
IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
DOWNTOWN, AND EXPECTING PEOPLE
TO WANT TO GO INTO THE MALL
WITHOUT ANY PARKING IMMEDIATELY
ADJACENT TO IT, FAILED
WITHIN... ALL OF THEM FAILED
WITHIN NOTHING FLAT, AND THEY
ALL HAD TO BE CONVERTED INTO
SOMETHING ELSE.
SO IN THAT CASE, THAT MALL'S
BEEN BOUGHT BY LAURIER
BRANTFORD, AND THEY'RE
CONVERTING IT INTO STUDENT SPACE
AND OTHER SPACE THAT GOES ALONG
WITH IT.

NAM SAYS WHAT ABOUT PARKS?
BECAUSE I WOULD... I THINK THEY
PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART IN...

CHRIS SAYS AND I WAS GOING TO GO TO
THE NEXT PART WHICH IS...

NAM SAYS YEAH...

Chris says ONCE WE LOST THAT SQUARE,
WE... I GOT REALLY FOCUSED ON
FINDING ANOTHER CIVIC SQUARE.
WE HAD A NICE AREA.
SO TEN YEARS AGO, WE WERE
FINALLY ABLE TO CREATE WHAT WE
CALL HARMONY SQUARE.
IT'S A MULTIPURPOSE
SPACE... SPLASH PAD IN THE SUMMER,
ICE RINK IN THE WINTER.
WE HAVE A STAGE THAT GOES ALONG
WITH IT.
THERE ARE PATIOS ALONG EACH SIDE
OF IT, SO PEOPLE CAN COME TO EVENTS.

A picture shows a pedestrian street flanked by gardens and low-rising buildings.

Chris says WE JUST HAD THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY.
IT RAN FOR TWO DAYS.
WE HAD THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE COME OUT.

Nam says WELL, HOW IMPORTANT IS SOMETHING
LIKE A HARMONY SQUARE?
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO THE LIFE
OF A MAIN STREET?

The caption changes to "Chris Friel, @ChrisFriel."

Chris says YOU... CIVIC PLACES... AND IN THIS
DAY AND AGE, PEOPLE WOULD
SAY... AND I KNOW THERE'S LOTS OF
TECH PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO WOULD
GO, "WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL
SOCIAL MEDIA NOW.
THAT'S THE MARKETPLACE.
THAT'S HOW PEOPLE COMMUNICATE."
AND WHAT WE FOUND WAS THE MORE
PEOPLE DISTANCE THEMSELVES WITH
TECHNOLOGY, WE STARTED SEEING
OUR ATTENDANCE AT EVENTS JUST GO
UP AND UP AND UP.
SO, I THINK PEOPLE ARE FEELING
THAT DISTANCE WITH THE
TECHNOLOGY, AND THEY WANT THAT
SPACE AGAIN.
THEY WANT TO GO OUT AND ENJOY A
MOVIE ON A THURSDAY NIGHT, WHICH
WE... WE PUT OUT EVERY... OR MUSIC
ON A FRIDAY NIGHT, WHICH WE DO
IN HARMONY SQUARE.
THEY WANT IT TO GO AND BE
SOMEWHERE; THEY WANT TO BE SOCIAL.
AND HARMONY SQUARE WAS ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT I THINK
WAS... PHYSICALLY WAS ONE OF THE
KEY CHANGES IN THE DOWNTOWN.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org. Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Nam says NOW, FOR A LOT OF MAIN STREETS,
THE BUSINESSES ARE SMALL BUSINESSES.

CHRIS SAYS YES.

Chris says YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU HAD A TIM
HORTONS AND THE WORKS... A BURGER
JOINT.

CHRIS SAYS YEAH.

Nam says SO WHEN THESE PLACES MOVE IN TO
YOUR MAIN STREET...

Chris says WE HAVE LOTS MORE THAN JUST
THOSE TWO.

NAM SAYS JUST THE ONES THAT YOU
MENTIONED.

[BOTH LAUGH]

Nam says SO WHEN THEY COME INTO THE MAIN
STREET, DOES THAT MAKE THE
COMMUNITY BETTER OR DOES IT TAKE
SOMETHING AWAY FROM WHAT IT WAS BEFORE?

Chris says I FIND IT TO BE INTERESTING THAT
WE LOOK AT THOSE STORES AS A
MARK OF SUCCESS, AND YET, I
WOULD RATHER LOOK AT RESTAURANTS
THAT HAVE BEEN THERE FOR 20
YEARS... THAT HAVE BEEN WORKING AWAY,
AND OUR INSTITUTIONS, YOU KNOW...

Nam says YOU'VE KEPT THE BUSINESSES
GOING, YEAH, RIGHT?

Chris says AND THEY STAYED IN THERE.

NAM SAYS YEAH.
I UNDERSTAND A NEW COSTCO IS COMING, RIGHT?

Chris says WE'RE IN... YES, WE'RE IN
DISCUSSIONS WITH A DEVELOPER TO
HAVE A COSTCO ON THE HIGHWAY.

NAM SAYS OK, ARE BIG-BOX STORES A
THREAT TO YOUR MAIN STREET?

The caption changes to "Revitalization."

Chris says OURS NOW, NO.
BUT THAT'S ONLY... EXCUSE
ME... PARTICULAR TO OUR COMMUNITY,
BECAUSE WE'VE ALREADY GONE
THROUGH THAT SUBURBAN MALL
STRUCTURE, SO... AND WE HAVE ONE
OF THOSE HIGHWAY STRIPS.
ACTUALLY, IT'S THE 24 FOR US,
AND IF YOU GO UP FARTHER TO
CAMBRIDGE, IT'S THE 24 FOR THEM TOO.
BUT FOR A COMMUNITY THAT IS
TOURIST BASED, POPULATION OF SAY
30,000 OR 40,000 PEOPLE, YOU
HAVE THOSE LARGE BOX STORES COME
INTO YOUR COMMUNITY, AND YOU ARE
GOING TO TAKE OUT YOUR
BUSINESSES.

Nam says WELL, THIS YEAR THE PROVINCE IS
INVESTING 26 MILLION dollars TOWARDS
WHAT THEY'RE CALLING A MAIN
STREET REVITALIZATION
INITIATIVE.
HOW WILL IT WORK?

Chris says UM...

NAM SAYS DO YOU KNOW?
ARE YOU...

Chris says I DO.

NAM SAYS ARE YOU ALLOWED TO TALK
ABOUT IT?

Chris says I AM, TO SOME DEGREE.
I'M NOT REALLY ENAMOURED WITH
THE PROPOSALS THE WAY THAT
THEY'RE BEING PRESENTED, BECAUSE
IT'S RIGHT BACK TO SOME OF THE
IDEAS IN THE '90S.
SO WE'RE GETTING... IN OUR CASE,
WE'RE GETTING MONEY.
WE'RE LOOKING AT...

NAM SAYS HOW WILL BRANTFORD BENEFIT FROM IT?

Chris says I THINK IT'S 115,000 dollars.
OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD, I THINK
THAT'S WHAT IT IS.
BUT WE'RE LOOKING AT MAYBE WE'LL
DO FREE WI-FI.
BUT, LIKE, NOW WE'RE IN A
SITUATION WHERE WE GOT TO DEAL
WITH GARBAGE, BECAUSE THE
POPULATION HAS GROWN UP SO MUCH
THAT... AND IT USED TO BE DAILY
GARBAGE, BUT NOW WE CAN'T DO
THAT ANYMORE, SO NOW WE'VE GOT
TO CENTRALIZE GARBAGE.
WE'D RATHER SPEND MONEY ON THOSE
KINDS OF THINGS.
WE GOT TRAFFIC ISSUES WE'VE GOT
TO DEAL WITH IT.
THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER
THINGS.
THIS STUFF NICE, AND I KNOW A
LOT OF COMMUNITIES ARE GOING TO
GO, "OK, WELL, LET'S FIX UP SUCH
AND SUCH A PARK, AND WE'LL GET
SOME NICE PARK BENCHES, AND
WE'LL DO ALL OF THOSE KINDS OF
THINGS."
IT DOESN'T START REVITALIZATION.
IT IS NICE TO HAVE.
IT'S NICE TO BE ABLE TO IMPROVE
CERTAIN AREAS, BUT YOU'VE GOT TO
GET TO THE FOUNDATION OF WHAT
YOUR COMMUNITY IS AND WHAT
YOU'RE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH IN
THAT AREA.
AND NICE SIDEWALKS.
DON'T PUT BRICKS IN.
GOD, PLEASE, EVERY COMMUNITY
THAT GOES NEAR THIS, DO NOT
BRICK YOUR SIDEWALKS.
IT IS ACCESSIBILITY, IT IS...

NAM SAYS RIGHT.

Chris says THE WORST.
SO, I MEAN, THOSE ARE THE KINDS
OF THINGS THAT PEOPLE GO FOR,
BUT... AND SO, YOU KNOW, IN OUR
CASE TOO, SO WE'RE SEEING A $64
MILLION YMCA LAURIER ATHLETIC
COMPLEX BEING BUILT ON THE SOUTH
SIDE OF COLBORNE STREET.
SOME OF THOSE BUILDINGS WERE
TAKEN DOWN.
IT'S BEING BUILT INTO THE BANK... BUT THEN IT'S GOING TO HAVE
A STREETSCAPE, SO IT'S GOING TO
HAVE TWO FACES TO IT.

A picture shows a low-rising, glass-faced building in front of a brick building.

Chris says THAT KIND OF THING... THE DAILY
ACTIVITY, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
COMING DOWN THERE FOR
PROGRAMMING... WHO ARE DROPPING THEIR
KIDS OFF, WHO ARE COMING TO WORK OUT...
THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT.
THAT'S WHERE YOU WANT TO SEE
THAT KIND OF ACTIVITY, BECAUSE
YOU NEED PEOPLE COMING IN HERE.
A NICE BENCH ISN'T GOING TO
BRING POPULATION, AND IT'S NOT
GOING TO HELP WITH THE RESIDENTIAL.
IT'S NOT GOING TO HELP WITH ALL
OF THE OTHER ISSUES THAT YOU
HAVE TO DEAL WITH.
AND IT'S... IT'S REALLY GETTING
PEOPLE INTO YOUR DOWNTOWN.
LIVING THERE, NOT JUST WORKING
9:00 TO 5:00.
AND I'M STILL A HUGE FAN, AND I
THINK FOR DOWNTOWNS, THE MODEL
THAT WAS ORIGINAL IS STILL THE
BEST, WHICH IS COMMERCIAL ON THE
MAIN FLOOR AND THEN WHOEVER OWNS
THE COMMERCIAL LIVES ON THE NEXT
TWO FLOORS.

NAM SAYS MIXED-USE BUILDINGS.

Chris says YEAH.
AND THAT'S WHAT WE STARTED WITH
BECAUSE IT WAS LOGICAL.
THAT'S WHAT YOU DID.
YOU BUILT AND THEN YOU LIVED.
YOU JUST WALKED DOWNSTAIRS TO GO
TO YOUR BUSINESS.

NAM SAYS NO COMMUTE.
WE HAVE A NEW GOVERNMENT IN
QUEEN'S PARK.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD BE DONE AT THAT
LEVEL... THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL... TO
HELP MAINTAIN THE HEALTH OF
MAIN STREETS?

Chris says I WOULD SAY... AND I WOULD SAY
THIS TO... I'VE WORKED WITH THE
NDP, THE PROVINCIAL HARRIS,
LIBERAL NOW, AND THEN ANOTHER PC
GOVERNMENT... I WOULD SAY THAT THE
BIGGEST ISSUE THAT BOTH
MINISTERS AND GOVERNMENTS AND
THE BUREAUCRACY HAVE IS GET YOUR
ASSES OUT OF TORONTO.
THIS IS NOT ONTARIO.
THE GTHA IS NOT ONTARIO.
THE 401 CORRIDOR AND THE 400
CORRIDOR IN THE SUMMER, BECAUSE
ALL THE MINISTERS WANT TO GO UP
TO THEIR COTTAGES, IS NOT
ONTARIO.
ONTARIO IS A MUCH BIGGER AREA.
BUT GOD FORBID ANYBODY MAKE IT
PAST, IN OUR CASE... SO
SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO, WE'RE THE
LEADING EDGE... THE EASTERN EDGE
OF IT... OR I GUESS IN THAT CASE
COMING FROM TORONTO,
WESTERN... BUT WE NEVER SEE
ANYBODY.
AND IF YOU GET A MINISTER TO
COME, IT'S ONLY TO MAKE AN
ANNOUNCEMENT, AND YOU GET A
COUPLE MINUTES, AND YOU GET
WHATEVER ELSE.
HOW DO WE EXPLAIN THIS ABOUT OUR
COMMUNITY?

Nam says SO THEY NEED TO BE MORE INVOLVED
OUTSIDE OF THIS AREA?

Chris says SO THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT'S HAPPENING OUTSIDE OF
TORONTO.
LIKE, THE DENSITY
INTENSIFICATION NUMBERS THAT ARE
BEING APPLIED TO THE... OUR
COMMUNITY AND THE OUTER BAND
COMMUNITIES, SO... OR OUTER
RING... SO WE LIKE TO CALL
OURSELVES THERE'S US, DOWN TO
NIAGARA, KITCHENER-WATERLOO,
BARRIE, KINGSTON ON THE EAST.
WE'RE THE OUTER BAND.
AND WE ACTUALLY... WE GET PART OF
THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE ACTIVITY,
SO THAT'S WHERE WE GET THESE
DENSITY NUMBERS.
THEY WON'T WORK.
THEY WON'T WORK IN OUR
COMMUNITIES BECAUSE THERE'S NO
UNDERSTANDING FROM THE
BUREAUCRACY OF WHAT THE NATURE
OF THESE COMMUNITIES ARE, AND
THEY DON'T LISTEN TO US.
THEY DESIGN PROGRAMS, AND THEN
SAY, "OK, NOW FIT IT TO YOUR
COMMUNITY."
INSTEAD OF ALLOWING US TO GO,
"OK, THERE MIGHT BE SIX
DIFFERENT STYLES OF COMMUNITY WE
HAVE TO TALK ABOUT HERE.
WE'VE GOT LARGE URBAN; WE'VE GOT
SMALL RURAL; WE'VE GOT SMALL
NORTHERN; WE'VE GOT MEDIUM-SIZED
EAST."
ALL OF THESE THINGS.
"LISTEN TO US."
SOMEBODY IN QUEEN'S PARK, LISTEN
TO MUNICIPALITIES DIRECTLY.

Nam says AND I HOPE SOMEONE'S WATCHING,
AND THEY DO TAKE TO HEART WHAT
YOU'RE SAYING.

Chris says AND AMO DOES A GREAT JOB.
I MEAN...
BUT, I MEAN, I FEEL AT TIMES
THAT THE GOVERNMENT USES AMO TO
NOT HAVE TO TALK TO OTHER COMMUNITIES.

NAM SAYS YEAH, ASSOCIATION OF
MUNICIPALITIES OF ONTARIO.

Chris says OF ONTARIO, YES.

NAM SAYS WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH,
MAYOR FRIEL.

Chris says THAT WAS IT?
I'VE GOT SO MUCH MORE TO SAY.

NAM SAYS THAT WAS IT.
WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME.

Chris says OK.

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

NAM SAYS WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME.
BUT IF YOU DO RUN IN THE FALL,
WE WISH YOU LUCK.

Chris says I... MY PAPERS ARE IN, SO I'M
READY TO GO.

NAM SAYS BEST OF LUCK.
^p
s says THANK YOU.

NAM SAYS AND THANK YOU FOR BEING
HERE AND SHOWING US WHY
MAIN STREETS MATTER.
THANKS.

Chris says OK, THANK YOU.

Watch: How to Save Main Street