According to Councillor Jaye Robinson, the debut of the Costco warehouse in Thorncliffe was not an unwarranted concern.
“At an afterschool event I was honored enough to attend, I’ve had one after the next person coming up to me and saying that the Costco was not a good option for this community,” Robinson said during a Democracy Forum at Jenner Jean-Marie Community Center.
“I was told and sold on the fact that this would create jobs for Thorncliffe Park,” Robinson said.
Costco Wholesale, an American membership-only warehouse club, was slated to be built on the foundation of the now demolished Coca-cola Canada headquarters. Since the arrival of Costco, many residents said they notice a shift in where customers choose to go.
There are too many empty stores, Robinson says. If the stores flourish, they’ll hire more help and boost the economy.
Candidate Tanweer Khan says that when a franchise is built in an area that jobs should be made available to those who currently reside in it.
“When you build a franchise in a certain area, the first program should be for the people living in the area,” Khan said. “This is the main issue here. We’ve been blindfolded by this. My belief is when you build a community franchise, hire more people.”
Khan says that the responsibility is in the hands of the owners to bring in help and stresses what they’re concerned most about.
“I think it should be the responsibility of the franchise if they want help. They all work in our communities and we bring communities together,” Khan said.
“But unfortunately a franchise is in it to make money. They’re making money off of you so they don’t care about you or they’ll care when more people start to hire.”
Prior to any of the building taking place, many residents of Leaside fought to keep their community as it was. The fears of the arrival of the Walmart(now a SmartCentre on Laird Dr.) from 2015 and a potential set of condos gave way to greater fears with the introduction of Costco now in 2018.
Councillor Jon Burnside explained that it was one of the first matters he addressed and that it was something the communities truly wished for.
“That was one of the first problems when I got elected, the Costco store. A lot of people in neighboring communities did want it, a majority of people in Thorncliffe did want it,” Burnside said.
“I voted in favor of it but before that I navigated so that we kept the task out for at least a year, so we could minimize traffic and bring back 180 actual jobs, good paying jobs, to Thorncliffe.”
Burnside says that the economy is actually doing really well and that a majority of jobs are in networking. He went on to say that by networking prosperous communities can be built and those hiring could be connected with those searching.
“There’s a study out there that shows 80% of jobs, good paying jobs are from networking,” Burnside said.
He suggested that he’s met with religous leaders from both Leaside and Thorncliffe and is working to help both communities prosper.
“I’ve had numerous meetings with them, I’ve walked in on those meetings and we’re trying to build a partnership so we can work across those communities. Leaside is a prosperous community, Thorncliffe needs a bit of help,” Burnside said.
“But it’s that networking. Meeting people who have jobs, are freeing jobs, who can help you find a job.”