Blenheim’s got it right

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roadwork

At a time when it seems people will complain about anything (short of taking meaningful action), the Blenheim BIA and some local politicians are going about things the right way.

Blenheim businesses, understandably concerned about the possibility of a 10-month closure of the Highway 40 overpass at the 401, met last week to outline their concerns with the Ministry of Transportation.

LEADWAVE Technologies from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

The multi-million dollar project may not take place until 2016 but rather than wait, the businesses are being proactive and engaging the MTO in dialogue now.  According to ministry officials, it’s a welcome change from after-the-fact conflicts that are more the norm.

By taking concerns to the province now, the MTO has an opportunity to develop plans to re-route traffic (thereby allowing transports and garbage haulers to go around the downtown) and explore other infrastructure options.

For its part, the BIA isn’t just counting on the province to solve all issues. It’s preparing marketing plans to ensure Chatham-Kent knows the community is open and eager for business.

We still believe the 10-month closure is excessive, but given the spirit of co-operation that exists, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the MTO build on that goodwill in any way possible.

•••

It was good to see downtown Chatham busy on the weekend as the Capitol Theatre hosted the Luv 2 Dance competition which brought in dance clubs from across this part of Ontario.

It wasn’t so good to see vehicles being towed as some local business lots were taken over by the hundreds of dancers and their supporters.

A key factor is the temporary unavailability of the annex parking lot and its dozens of spots.  A speedy completion of annex renovations and development of a parking strategy with the venue and users should help the situation.

•••

Best sign of the week came from Parks Blueberries near Thamesville.

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local and that’s the same kind of thing.”

Now if only more businesses and residents took that to heart.

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