To the editor,
Here we go again: City hall sides with the chamber of commerce to create a downtown business improvement association. Translation: retailers get funding for ill-conceived offerings supported by levies instead of customer support for their wares or services.
People do not go downtown because it is inconvenient, feels unsafe and it is littered with eyesore dead spaces. And, it seldom offers enough reward to merit a visit, exceptions being the amazing waterfront park areas, the Port Theatre and for some, the casino. Why not wait for the citizen-led insights of Reimagine Nanaimo, or better yet, the just-announced $150,000 Commercial Street revitalization plan?
Another business improvement association, interestingly unsupported by some of the land owners, will only hype artificial events to overcome the facts of the downtown area. Legitimate rewarding reasons to visit a retail store are always preferable to guilt-ridden, tax-supported, artificial inducements. A great experience and honest customer rewards invariably stimulate sales and profits, not hype, the usual practice of BIAs in the past.
A great example, for me, is the consistently rewarding visit and shopping experience of our downtown’s Flying Fish. Similarly, some of the eateries reward customer support, despite the price of traversing the area. Downtowns die due to rot, not lack of awareness or hype. Let the study tell us something and let’s find out what all the residents want.
Dale Partridge, Nanaimo
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