Council is not willing to alter their plans for phase one of the downtown revitalization after a request from local business owner Wayne Brown, came in.
I didn’t think the request was too outrageous in any way, but in all fairness, perhaps there were reasons for the decision and perhaps the business owner’s request came in too late.
But still, I think Coun. Frank Varga was very abrupt with his decision.
Mayor Luke Strimbold added a word of caution to councillors, saying that the decision they make could potentially impact the business in a negative way, however council decided not to take that into account.
I was perplexed by Coun. Varga’s comments, saying that council should make decisions about the plans, rather than the downtown revitalization committee.
What is the purpose of the downtown revitalization committee if council does not take in their recommendations, especially about issues that effect local businesses?
Brown has said to Lakes District News that he is not part of the downtown revitalization committee and was never invited to be part of it, so who then gets to give feed back to the committee or council?
Council should be talking to local businesses that are effected by the new plans.
The issue for Brown is that he is worried about the new curb bulbs taking up parking space.
They help improve pedestrian safety by reducing crossing distances and slow down traffic and when planted with trees and flowers, they improve the look of the area, but in turn, they also inhibit roadside parking.
This is probably the biggest issue with installing curb bulbs in the downtown area as Hwy. 16 customers are currently able to park directly outside of a business.
Parking outside of a business is convenient and probably helps businesses attract customers.
Parking outside of a business is a bonus for local businesses. If there is a parking space right in front of your business, people will stop, rather than just pass by.
I thought Coun. Varga’s comments about Vancouver to be a bad comparison.
This is a comparison that I think is way out of the ball park. Of course in a city deliveries can’t always be made outside of a business, that goes without saying.
But we are talking about Burns Lake not Vancouver. Small business is the back bone of Burns Lake and some things need to be taken into consideration.
In times of economic uncertainty, especially when local businesses are finding it tough, council needs to help as much as possible, rather than hinder them with problems.
Like Mayor Strimbold cautioned, the issue could really impact a local business forever. I know you can’t please everyone, but I think council should have taken this more into consideration, before making such a snap decision.