Displaced: An Opinion
The Boyle McCauley Pharmacy recently moved to a new location in Central McDougall. This relocation was not their choice. They chose to open and invest in McCauley in 2012, thinking they were a welcome and needed community business. As a renter, your future is never secure when owners have other plans. The pharmacy’s lease was not renewed in May. An eviction notice was delivered to vacate by August 31st.
I am a patient of the pharmacy. The relocation of the pharmacy means I can no longer walk a few blocks to pick up prescriptions. I recognize I am a patient with privileges. I have a car and can drive to the new location. I am able-bodied and can walk to the new location. I imagine that many of the 3,000 pharmacy patients do not have cars and struggle with various physical and mental health issues. It will be harder for them to adjust to this new location, although the pharmacy will continue to deliver to home-bound patients.
I recently had the privilege to be in a major European city. There were small pharmacies every one to three blocks. I know, because I easily found one to purchase a medication. Communities benefit from small, friendly pharmacies where you are welcomed by name. This is what the Boyle McCauley Pharmacy offers its patients.
Another displacement involves replacing sidewalks, creating bike paths and multi-purpose trails, raising intersections, making 92nd Street one-way, and adding corner extensions. At one Neighbourhood Renewal meeting, a few of us questioned the need for the scale of these changes at this time. We stated we would rather the City spend taxpayer money now on increasing affordable and supportive housing as one solution to encampments. But, that’s a different department budget. These changes are a strange priority while people still languish in their tents and the whole community is impacted. New streetscapes alone can’t change harsh realities.
Neighbours along 108A Avenue invested time and money in beautifying the avenue by planting flowers and shrubs beyond the fence line. One of the first City ideas was to remove the beautiful old elm trees. Community input changed that. However, the flowers and shrubs had to go. Our neighbour made the best of this by transplanting some flowers to encircle the trees. We relocated two of his plants to our front garden so he can see those continue to flourish. Creative coping.
Kate is a longtime resident of McCauley.