About Dan Stankovic

Dan offers an exceptional range of expertise and experience in urban economics and city governance.

Trading Tim Hortons For Cummings Store: Revitalization of Vanier’s Traditional Main Street

During the latter half of the 19th Century and until about 1920 Cummings Island was a vibrant commercial hub on the Rideau River between Janeville (one of three settlements that eventually formed Eastview which later became Vanier) and Ottawa. When the City of Ottawa bought the island in 1923 and built a new bridge bypassing the island slightly north of it, the store was moved to a new location now occupied by Tim Hortons at the intersection of Montreal Road and Vanier Parkway. The new site was to become the entry point for what was to be Eastview’s downtown and Vanier’s traditional main street and French Quarter. Continue reading

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Huge Economic Benefits Expected from Hard Rock Ottawa Casino but Don’t Bet On It

Since the first casino opened in Windsor in 1994, there has been a proliferation of gaming (a.k.a. gambling) facilities throughout Ontario under the watchful authority of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Authority (OLG). From the early bingo halls in church basements to today’s mega hotel-casino-theatre entertainment complexes, gaming is big business in North America.

The Nation’s Capital has had a part of the casino wave. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was discussion about getting a casino on Sparks Street to inject some excitement to the otherwise dead downtown. Instead, Hull (now Gatineau) beat Ottawa  to the punch and built a world class Casino du Lac-Leamy with a 5-star Hilton Hotel within an eye’s view of the then young National Gallery of Canada. When Lac-Leamy opened in March 1996, there were 14 other gaming establishments within a 500-mile radius compared to more than 80 two decades later (Ottawa Citizen). Ottawa did get on to the casino bandwagon eventually albeit in a less celebratory way when the 1,200 slot machines were installed at the Rideau Carleton Raceway in 2000 to support the declining horse racing attendance. Continue reading

The Geography of Economic Wealth in Canada

In January 2017, Statistics Canada released a new economic indicator for Canadian cities – Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 33 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and 9 non-CMA regions. While GDP data have long been published at the national and provincial levels, the calculation of metropolitan level figures is much more difficult and time consuming according to the federal agency, requiring the synthesis of a wide range of data sources.

GDP is most widely accepted statistic used by economists to measure economic progress and economic output. GDP is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced within a given period of time, typically quarterly and annually. It is typically measured and the national and provincial levels by adding together personal consumption expenditures, government expenditures, net exports and net capital formation. In short, local GDP measures the overall wealth created by people and businesses within a given region or metropolitan area. Continue reading

Three New Homeless Shelters in Three Canadian Cities, Three Different Approaches and Outcomes of Community Engagement

The announcement of a new emergency shelter in a neighbourhood, perhaps more than any other land use, most often leads to emotionally charged opposition from residents concerned about rising crime, falling property values and the overall decline of the community’s quality of life. Such opposition is often described, usually by shelter supporters and civic advocates, as Not-In-My-Backyard or NIMBY reactions. Of course, NIMBY responses are not just limited to emergency shelters – they are widespread to almost any new type of development in established communities such as a high-rise condominium building or new alignment of truck routes (think bridge over the Ottawa River). Continue reading

Salvation Army’s Proposed Emergency Shelter in Vanier: A Community Hub or Community Fortress?

There is a very brief reference on pages 16/17 in the planners’ November 14, 2017 report dealing with the proposed Salvation Army shelter in Vanier to a subject matter known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED. Simply stated, CPTED focuses on the proper design and the effective use of the built environment or form that can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime and an improvement in the quality of life. As I noted in my previous blog, the fear of increased crime is a main concern of communities with respect to homelessness. Continue reading

Homelessness, Crime Trends and the Fear of Crime in Rideau-Vanier

There is one common issue underlying community opposition to the presence of homeless or homeless shelters in a neighbourhood in any city in Canada – the fear of rising crime. The level of fear also appears to be correlated by the size of shelters and/or the concentration of homeless people in a community. Such concerns about community safety are often expressed in terms of undesirable or illicit behaviour most commonly associated with homelessness – loitering, panhandling, trespassing, petty theft, burglary, public intoxication, drug dealing, prostitution etc. From a business owner’s perspective, the concentration of homeless in a commercial area potentially drives customers and tourists away and adds to business costs for things like security and cleaning. Continue reading

Was the Planning Act Used as a Stratagem in the Case of Vanier and the Salvation Army’s Proposed Shelter Complex?

It was over 50 years ago when Jane Jacobs wrote in her famous The Death and Life of Great American Cities published in 1961 that “cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Following the lead of Jane Jacobs, the City of Ottawa prides itself as being a leader in community engagement and community building. One of the strategic directions in the City’s Official Plan is “building liveable communities”. According to the City’s web site, the Plan

proposes to create more liveable communities by focusing more on community design and by engaging in collaborative community building, particularly in and around the Mixed-Use Centres and Mainstreets that have a great potential for growth.”  Continue reading