Kensington Market will remain Walmart-free
Kensington Market can count a victory in the seemingly endless war against big-box retail takeover. It looks like RioCan, the company developing the former Kromer Radio building, has conceded to public outcry against its first proposal, which allocated 95,000 square feet to Walmart, the ultimate mega-discount chain and nightmare of local indie shops. RioCan’s latest proposal maxes out rental units at half of the proposed Walmart space, kicking the retailer to the curb (or back to the suburbs).
Councillor Mike Layton told the Globe and Mail that they “pushed back hard” against the proposal. And an online petition at change.org received over 92,000 virtual signatures. An agreement will likely be reached where the retail giant will walk away from the deal. RioCan’s full proposal will be presented to the public later this month, and providing it passes through city council, Kensington Market will live to see a future unimpeded by bulk candy bars and cheap lawn furniture. While this is good news for the community, Kensington’s gentrification concerns are ongoing, as neighbourhood complaints weren’t enough to stop Loblaws from moving in on its northern border, and local realty villain Phil Pick is still on the loose.