Why MPP Harinder Takhar doesn’t want a ServiceOntario centre to shut

The decision to close an ServiceOntario centre at Westdale Mall has set of a storm of protests, not just from the community which will be impacted by the closure, but by the other retailers who view this ServiceOntario centre as a kind of anchor that brings in hundreds of customers each month. The issue is receiving the full support of Mississauga-Erindale MPP Harinder Takhar who is hoping to reverse this decision in the larger interests of the community.

In an interview with Can-India, MPP Harinder Takhar explained his opposition to its closure. “The community surrounding Westdale Mall is very needy. Many residents don’t have access to cars and although there are three or four other ServiceOntario Centres in the area, shutting this one would impact this community in many ways. It would kill the plaza,” he says. A petition that has gathered hundreds of signatures in a few days, claims the province’s decision to the centre is doing a huge disservice to businesses and residents in the community.

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services confirmed last week that the full-service office, which opened in 2009, would cease operations at the end of October. Businesses in the Mississauga mall, on Dundas Street west of Mavis Road, are shocked and upset by the government’s decision to pull out of the neighbourhood shopping centre. The government service centre, which offers everything from a driver’s licence and plate sticker renewals to Ontario photo identification and health cards, attracts a lot of traffic to the mall. Between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016, the location conducted some 175,000-service transactions for residents in the community.

Westdale Mall like a bunch of other malls across North America have seen declining traffic and that trend was made worse last year when Target abruptly shut its store at the mall. At that time many of the retailers comforted themselves that at least the ServiceOntario centre would continue to draw in steady traffic.

This petition would be presented to Mississauga-Erindale MPP Harinder Takhar in hopes of getting the Liberal government to reconsider the closure. But some wonder if ServiceOntario is obliged to reconsider its decision in order to benefit private businesses. But on the other hand, given the socio-economic make-up of the area large retailers aren’t in a hurry to lease space at Westdale mall. – CINEWS

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