Stop Dollarama from replacing community hub on College West

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Located at the corner of College & Duff, MakeWorks has offered affordable memberships to a diverse business community of young entrepreneurs, creatives and remote workers in the West End. MakeWorks previously housed local architecture firm Partisans (Bar Raval, Quetzal) and is now occupied by three large companies alongside smaller software companies, freelancers and businesses/non-profits that focus on social development. These many members of the coworking community support local businesses in the area, from boutiques and retail shops, to restaurants, bakeries and cafés. MakeWorks as a business also supports local businesses, such as local coffee vendors, grocery stores, breweries, while partnering with other coworking spaces and educational spaces throughout the city. Most of the MakeWorks members also live in the neighbourhood, either walking, biking, or using public transit to get to work, contributing less to traffic and pollution.

This week, MakeWorks members were given 1.5 months notice that their coworking space is to become, of all things, a Dollarama. It is very disappointing that MakeWorks’ owners are trading in this unique hub of entrepreneurs, remote workers and freelancers in favour of a marketplace for cheap goods that will surely end up in the landfill.

As a resident of this neighbourhood, we believe that the type of businesses we allow here is absolutely critical as it determines what kind of values we defend, what kind of clientele we want to attract and what kind of community we want to be. We know how hard it is to create a better, stronger and more resilient city. What kind of signal does the opening of a big Dollarama on that street portion send while there is another Dollarama five minutes away at Dundas/Ossington?

The office of Ana Bailão has suggested that the displaced members and businesses move to the three other coworkers available in our Ward. Unfortunately, the spaces they have suggested are either completely defunct, have specific business requirements that do not match the objectives of the existing MakeWorks members or have limited capacity.  The nearest co-working space AcmeWorks, currently has no offices available and only has three desks available. 

We request that residents of Ward 9 voice their concerns over this change to Dollarama as well as councillor Ana Bailão.

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