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Why MEC's Burlington Location is an Awful Choice

Please read the post on Raise The Hammer about why the Mountain Equipment Co-Op Burlington site is bad. What follows is a breakdown of several points made in the MEC press release.

Fallacies about the Burlington Location

MEC's press release makes several wonderful sounding points about their chosen location near Brant and Plains:

  1. "...centrally located and readily accessible..."
  2. "...close to numerous outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities..."
  3. "...accessible by various modes of transportation..."
  4. "...highly visible..."
  5. "...located in an area of the city thatís experiencing regrowth..."
  6. "Sustainability is a driving force at MEC..."
  7. "MEC plans to construct its greenest building to date..."
  8. "Co-operatives exist to serve their member-owners..."

Unfortunately, the reality is that many of these exciting features are only marginally true of this physical location:

  1. Central to what? The QEW/403 Junction! Readily accessible, true, but mostly accessible via highway.
  2. How close? Not close enough to walk or ride there.
  3. Accessible by car foremost. The site is "close" to the GO station, but the path from the GO is 1.5km of barren road which goes over an overpass and runs beside light industrial, car dealers and strip malls. Walking from the GO to MEC involves over half a kilometre of backtracking, no summer shade, and no interesting stops on the way. Burlington Transit goes to their store, but it does not operate a transit hub there.
  4. Visible to highway travellers of course!
  5. The area surrounding MEC is mostly highway right of way and low density retail/light industrial. The most notable "regrowth" in the immediate area is a WalMart that the local citizens fought hard against and lost.
  6. I can see that they are serious about building sustainability, but what about transportation sustainability?
  7. This is the best (and only) advantage that their new location will have to its name!
  8. The co-op does not appear to be serving the members who are "thinking green" -- but perhaps their member demographics are not what one would think...

Advantages of a proposed Hamilton Location

One location that was proposed in Hamilton was the old Federal Building. See how that location fits in with their listed advantages much more closesly:

  1. Centally located near the downtown core of one of Canada's largest cities
  2. Within walking distance of the bruce trail, and easy riding distance to dozens of other trail networks branching off of Hamilton's two rail trail corridors.
  3. Within easy walking distance to GO as well as Greyhound, and blocks away from the HSR's downtown transit hubs at Gore Park and MacNab. Fully walkable from high density housing and office space.
  4. Visible as a major "landmark building" on the main route from the outside world into Hamilton
  5. Hamilton's downtown is on the cusp of greatness and experiencing significant growth
  6. Sustainable transportation and renovations are 100% feasible in this location
  7. Green building operations are 100% feasible in this mixed use existing building. Taking over an existing space is less detrimental to the environment than building from scratch.
  8. Members from Burlington and Oakville can easily access downtown Hamilton, and can do so using a variety of transportation options besides single occupancy vehicles (which Burlington seems to cater to above all others)