We had in-studio guests A Day in the Hood, Love Me Love My Winnipeg and Heart of the Continent. Good conversations about our city within a city. Check out the podcast if you get a chance.
A topic that came up was Selkirk Avenue. I noticed over the weekend that there was some activity at the former Red Apple. I found out that it is being converted for a daycare. At least it's not a social agency which has filled up pretty much every large space on the street. Still, another former larger than a convenience store former retail space gone.
When you walk the street you also get to see some of the neat architectural detail that still exists. Little gems of places that would be welcome in any neighbourhood in the city. Gems that are living on borrowed time.
The sad part is that I save up my photos to look back and see what is missing since my previous walk. Since October 2010 there are a couple of burned out buildings gone. The residential part of the above building (an HVAC place, if I recall) and the residential buildings behind L.P. Grocery at the corner of Charles.
Though some retailers still stick it out on the strip: Gunn's Bakery; Todaschuk's; The Windmill they are retailers that cater to the old Selkirk Avenue, not the one of the past 25 years. Where retailers should be to serve the people that live there today, are boarded up or taken up by pizza by the slice joints or, cheque cashing stores and a plethora of 'Mom and Pop' convenience stores.
It is for that reason that the former Red Apple's conversion to daycare is a bit of a sad note.
I am honestly not sure what the answer is for Selkirk Avenue. (It certainly isn't a continuation of the injection of educational and social agencies that have been filling the streetscape for the past 20 years). A lot of cylinders need to firing at the same time to tackle the retail, housing, development and social needs of the area and to date the political will has not been there.
That's not been the case with other areas of the core like Chinatown, Downtown, Waterfront and the Exchange. Funny thing is, the issue that has stymied those other districts - the lack of residents - is not an issue for Selkirk Avenue.
Sorry to see you like this Selkirk Avenue. Maybe one day we will find the will.
Changing for the better in the North End OMC
When Normal Becomes Abnormal Rise and Sprawl
The Age of Poverty on Selkirk Avenue The Uniter
BIZ wants to stop business exodus The Times
Selkirk Ave Struggling to rebound CJOB
Selkirk Avenue in 1914 MHS
July 2011 UPDATE: My latest pot on Selkirk Avenue