Victoria Crescent business group aims to plan events for the area

Following a Nanaimo city council decision to cut funding to Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association in late January, the association says it will still collect membership fees.

The non-profit’s mandate is to “facilitate revitalization” of the downtown core and in a press release last week, said funds will be used for programs that will fit under main priorities, including communicating and consulting with its membership, enhancing Diana Krall Plaza and the upcoming Business Improvement Areas of B.C. conference in Nanaimo April 24-26.

Property owners in downtown Nanaimo pay a tax levy, which was matched by the city, and will continue to do so, said Corry Hostetter, association executive director.

“The funds will be used for programs that will fit under those main priorities that were listed in the press release,” Hostetter said.

The association has ceased event planning in light of the funding cut, but the city said 50 per cent of that money will be made available for organizations, including the association, to use on events.

The Victoria Crescent Association, a group based in the downtown Nanaimo area, said it would like to step up and assist with events.

Dave Lawrence, owner of That 50’s Barbershop and one of the group’s founders, said he wasn’t happy with the association and that his group will plan as many events as it can, including events for Marine Festival and the Bathtub race.

“We’ve been quite ticked off that probably the past two years they haven’t shut down our part of the street for Bathtub, even though Commercial Street has been,” Lawrence said.

“We definitely want to shut down the street for that and have some vendors and music and stuff like that like the rest of the streets get shut down.”

The city decided to stop a matching grant to the association as part of a recommendation in its recent core services review.

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