City councillor Dalvir Nahal is preparing to propose a legacy fund be used to support downtown businesses at a special meeting today at 3 p.m.
Nahal told the Morning Star she plans to make a motion that would see Main Street (30th Avenue) closed to traffic between 29th and 31st streets — similar to how the City of Kelowna closed Bernard Avenue last year to make room for more physical distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This isn’t the first time Nahal has brought this idea forward.
Recently, she engaged in an online conversation with a resident asking why Vernon hasn’t already done something like this as it would be beneficial for the business community.
Nahal, who has advocated for something like this for more than a year now, said she had reached out to the Downtown Vernon Association to engage with its members, but the response rate was low.
“Many young professionals work until 5 p.m.,” Nahal said in a social media post. “They have the dispensable income but since most businesses close after 5 p.m., they don’t spend it downtown.”
“We need to revitalize downtown,” Nahal told the Morning Star Tuesday morning. “My heart is breaking for downtown businesses.”
In addition to closing the road to traffic between the J-DON Japanese restaurant and Nolan’s Pharmasave, Nahal said she’d like to see the City of Vernon offer up chairs and tables often used at the Recreation Centre.
On the heels of the province’s move to ban indoor dining at restaurants, which has since been extended until after May 24, Nahal said some restaurants may not have access to outdoor furniture or even have the space to expand. This would be one way the city can support its local business community.
Some of the nearly $13-million Fortis BC Legacy Reserve funds is another, she said.
Council will debate what to spend the funds on in a special meeting of council at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.