We have visions of another round of the game of musical-buildings dancing in our heads.
The federal building, an architectural beauty, in Brantford, Ontario has been declared surplus by Public Works and Government Services Canada. This means they want to divest themselves of the property.
Canada Post, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Service Canada, Correctional Services Canada, and a property management company occupy the building. About half of the current 7,200 sq. ft. is used.
The first question is: where oh where are these tenants going? Will they go to a commercial outdoor mall on the fringe of the city and use taxpayers’ dollars to pay rent?
Is the federal government not keenly aware of (1) the downtown plight of Canadian cities (they should be given the federal handouts that have flowed to Brantford’s downtown and others), and (2) how such a decision flies in the face of what cities are trying to accomplish in their downtowns? A city does not need another empty building in its core.
A sector that works well in a city’s core is government services.
Again, it appears the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Again, informed, rational thinking is absent. Did anyone in Public Works think: given the mounting federal debt, how can we make better use of government buildings? Instead of departments scattered across a city, can we put them under one roof?
Here’s a suggestion: Instead of the Canada Food Inspection Agency using taxpayers’ dollars to pay rent at 650 Park Rd., N., they could join their fellow civil servants and use the empty space in the federal building in downtown Brantford.