For what seems to have been no overall plan, no concern to terrain, for neighbourhood, for pedestrian enjoyment or for esthetics, the west end of Water Street has been turned into one of the most unattractive city-scapes in Canada.
In a recent TV appearance City Coun. Jonathan Galgay acknowledged this. He is, he said, concerned with the impression that area gives to people entering St. John’s and is looking forward to “spiffing up” the west end with flower pots and some old-fashioned lights in order to “bring it back to the old days”.
Galgay (who is employed in the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs as a program analyst) may rightfully say he had no part in the west end’s uglinesss. However, he does sit on today’s council, which is constantly breaking (shaping, Galgay says) its own zoning rules, most notably in support of Republic Properties. When Republic’s two monolithic slabs rise on either side of Duckworth Street East, Galway and his fellow councillors will have created the same inhuman, uninviting atmosphere on each end of downtown St. John’s — bookend ugliness.
In a few years’ time (perhaps when our camera-loving councillor is mayor) will Galgay announce plans to bring the one historic Cavendish Square area back to “the old days” with potted plants set out in the shadow of high-rise buildings he and his associates facilitated?