Urban Fold

Provinces Must Curb Retail Sprawl

There is a near-consensus on the deficiencies of big box retail, but municipalities don't have the will to turn them down. Provinces must step in with development guidelines, writes Christopher Hume.

"Though the province [or Ontario] has made it clear it wants to control development (sprawl) in southern Ontario, it has yet to address the issue of retail. Despite the Places to Grow plan and Greenbelt legislation, the local landscape is cluttered with power centres, big-box malls and other shopping arrangements that go by various names.

[Big box retail developments] fly in the face of common sense, let alone provincial intentions. But that hasn't stopped them from being built. As anyone familiar with the retail industry knows, it isn't just conservative, it's antediluvian. Not just slightly behind the times, but decades out of date.

Though there are few arguments left to those who would defend the power centre, municipalities won't stop them. Councillors are too weak to stand up to the development industry, which puts the mall squarely in the province's court."

Full Story: It's time to think outside the big box

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