In Victoria, there was an addictions recovery resource center located in the midst of a fairly classy downtown shopping area. Its location in the downtown core was ideal for the city’s marginalized and homeless, it was very accessible and saw a lot of use. This caused no end of frustration to the local community business association, the presence of obviously impoverished people is bad for the image of the area. And that’s bad for business. Across the street from the resource center was a small undeveloped gravel lot, it was a popular space to stop outside the center to smoke and socialize. This too was part of the success of the center, it’s absolutely necessary for that kind of place to have somewhere people can smoke, and the sidewalks were narrow and unsuitable as Victoria is full of stuck up health yuppies and punishing civic bylaws.
The business association brought a proposal to the city: they wanted to give back to the community, and contribute to the beauty of such a lovely city. How kind of them! They wanted to build a community garden. What an excellent idea! They received approval from the city, and the business association reached out to various affluent leftist groups in the area to help with the project: the organic growers guild, student groups on campus, that sort of thing. They all loved the idea, community gardens are fantastic! It’s good to see corporate types contributing to the community, maybe they’re not so bad after all. On the empty lot, they built a beautiful garden.
Of course, a garden needs to be sheltered so that things can grow, so they built a fence around it. And we can’t have cigarette buts polluting the soil, so littering was vigilantly and harshly penalized. Gradually, due to the lack of a socialization space and the increased presence of cops and clueless do-gooder students who want to feel safer, attendance at the center declined. The local business association came forward with another proposal: the current location for the addictions recovery center wasn’t very popular anymore, but they had a larger place further out of town that they would generously lease for cheaper. The city thought this was an excellent cost saving measure for a program that had mysteriously declined in effectiveness.
They moved their offices, and now if you want to get to the center from downtown (where all their people are) you have to take the incredibly expensive Victoria transit system. The place is always practically empty. On the old downtown block, the business association is very happy.