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Tag Archives: police

The Problem with Conversion Neighbourhoods and New Residents

When we bought our first condo, the building came with an unofficial escort service on one of the corners of the building. If I’m being a little vague, what I mean to say, the building was at the corner of a popular hooker stroll.

We bought knowing what the situation is. The exiting companionship business (ok, less colloquialisms) was there before we bought into the condominium. The neighbourhood was on the cusp of redevelopment with 5 new high-rise condominiums going in within 2 blocks of our new home. We also benefited from the prostitutes – it was a very affordable unit near the downtown core and multiple public transit stops. It was a great buy for our first condo.

In Montreal, a similar neighbourhood is drawing attention. Known as the Gay Village, an onset of condominium buyers and young families is bringing forward a clash with the local homelessness and beggars established in the community.

I’m bugged by people who move into an existing neighbourhood and then demand changes for their lifestyle. They moved into an area with a known homeless situation, and now want them all deported from their new home. Relax. Take it easy for a couple years. There are two stories I want to tell you.

First off – there was a burglary in one of the commercial units in our condominium. The entered through the residence, made their way though the service hallway and raided a store. While making their escape they passed by several of the working ladies and departed. When the police showed up to investigate, the ladies provided details and descriptions of the culprits and their manner of escape. They proved to be a reliable set of witnesses to the crime.

Second – give the city a few years. With new development, especially higher density, new tax revenue will come through to the city. After giving the pre-existing inhabitants of the community time to realize that the community is changing (and they will, street revitalization with new shops and other revitalization events always follow high density redevelopment), you can approach city hall with a strong tax case for enhanced community initiative (including police) that will push out the pre-existing community. You just have to give it a few years, and don’t come into an existing community just to push your weight around.

Our first condo is now hooker free (not by far, they popular streets only migrated a few blocks), but they have moved. It happened relatively naturally and without the need for new residents to build conflict with the old.