By Wilson Lo, East Barrhaven Councillor
Personally, I enjoy “going” to work (I’m less productive at home), but I hope the federal government rethinks its blanket hybrid work policy.
During the campaign, many residents told me how they enjoy working at home, especially the increased productivity and improved work-life balance. Local businesses have also enjoyed the boost in business, and Barrhaven has enjoyed the boost in life.
For almost three years we have re-shaped our lives around new work arrangements and lifestyles. Do we want to spend hours to commuting to the office again just to attend virtual meetings?
I recognise that hybrid work will temporarily revitalise downtown businesses, but reverting to a partial pre-pandemic state won’t address long-standing issues that existed before the pandemic, like the state of Sparks Street.
The post-pandemic reality represents a real opportunity to meaningfully revitalise the downtown by repurposing empty towers into much needed housing and bring 24/7 life to businesses and to downtown.
Downtown has so much potential, with the new Ādisōke central library, a possible arena, and the ongoing LeBreton flats redevelopment. That level of potential won’t be realised through short-term solutions held together by bandages.
Many Barrhaven businesses have benefitted from having residents working from home rather than spending hours a day commuting downtown.