“St. James Anglican Church in Carleton Place is hoping to proceed with the sale of its old parish hall to the McKeen family, owners of Manitoulin Chocolate Works.“It’s a conditional sale, which hinges on a severance and zoning change,” Rev. David Andrew told the Canadian Gazette in an interview last week.” –Tara Gesner – Carleton Place Canadian Gazette
Last night it was St. James Anglican Church versus the town of Carleton Place at our town hall. For a few hours the pros and cons of having Manitoulin Chocolate Works open in Carleton Place were debated. Some words were heated, and some made no sense. In the end no decision was made. Personally, I felt like it was hopeless for the purveyors of exceptional hand made chocolates to bring their business to town and restore Elliot Hall.
What I don’t seem to get is why we just can’t bend over backwards sometimes for progress in Carleton Place. It’s not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last. Of course I understand about traffic and neighbourhood quality. Some suggest it would be a death knell to the local neighbourhood with new increased commercial traffic. But doesn’t that in effect slow or completely stop the inevitable and necessary growth we need? If Carleton Place does not have the innovation and challenge, we will not only lose future financial gain, we will lose our brightest and best to larger communities for better opportunities.
To withstand economic forces that are compressing our economic growth in small towns we have to fight hard for our community to prosper. If we turn away innovative entrepreneurs like Manitoulin Chocolate Works it says a lot to other companies that might consider coming to Carleton Place. Some individuals say “we made our life here because of its quaintness and tranquility“. That’s fine, but, if you do not accept new business here, it will die a slow death, and then you won’t have to argue over the amount of spaces for cars ( 7 ) or those needed for bicycles (8)— or whether an area should be zoned for commercial.
Carleton Place is losing their retail base to big-box stores less than 30 minutes away and now we could be rescued in part by attracting inventive entrepreneurs. We have a dying downtown, and empty manufacturing plants that nobody wants. If everyone could get over their differences and work together we might finally realize that small specialty businesses are in fact the key drivers of future wealth and employment in our economy.
It’s a sad state of affairs– but either except change in Carleton Place or watch your towns dollars go elsewhere. I hate to be Darwinian or melodramtic, but it’s either compete or die. Think about it.
Photos by Linda Seccaspina
If you want to now some history about that area and the different commercial and non commercial places of Bell Street and area read here.
Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place