Northdale Neighbourhood is not a ghetto

January 7, 2010 — Tags: , ,

Contrary to the impression you might get from a January 6, 2010 article in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, the Northdale neighbourhood close to both universities is not an ugly ghetto with a bad reputation.

I live in the neighbourhood the article mentions, and I think it is a great place to live. I cannot think of another neighbourhood I would want to live in more, in Waterloo. I take issue with the image of this neighbourhood as an ugly student ghetto. I think it is exaggerated and sensationalistic, and it is not at all how I feel about living here.

The Record article, like many of the newspaper articles I’ve seen about this neighbourhood, seems high on sensationalism and low on fact checking. For example, the photo in the article is of the house next door to me. It was recently bought by a young professional couple, the very people that supposedly are not being attracted to the neighbourhood. They are living in the house, and renting the basement to students.

I would also like to note that while there are sometimes loud noises at night, I have never seen anyone having sex on the sidewalk in several years of living near students. Nor do I think that having big backyards detracts from the quality of the neighbourhood. In fact, along with the mature trees, it is one of its charms.

Also, most students are quiet and studious. It is only a small minority that are bad neighbours.

I was disappointed to see the comments made by my city councillor Jan d’Ailly, as quoted in the Record article. For example, this one “I think it’s pretty clear that what’s there now is not working.” Also his plans to “file a motion next Monday that calls for changes to the area.” I’ve written him a letter to tell him my opinion.

Whatever the city does, there will be a lot of students in this neighbourhood, because of the location. I have reviewed the 20 year plans that the city has for the neighbourhood, and I think they are well thought out and sensible. I think it may be possible to improve the plan, but not on the basis of sensationalistic claims, and not with the unrealistic expectation that changing zoning will stop students from living here or attract more high tech workers to the area.

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