Owners, operators and employees of local businesses attended a meeting with Mayor and Council on Wednesday, Jan 15 at the Riverside Centre.
The topic of discussion for the evening was Supporting our Downtown.
Mayor Frank Armitage opened the discussion by stating that, “Suggestions and solutions that we could implement collectively are welcomed.”
He added that, “We have seen with the hospital closure, how hard work and working together equaled good results.”
It was stated that 17 out of the 75 business buildings in the downtown core were empty. Suggestions for reasons why and solutions to the issues were then discussed among the group;
Rental/lease pricing is stated to be high for many of the buildings.
The Business Park: the lots have not been selling. – It was suggested that Council consider a tax holiday or sell the land at cost in order to get businesses up there.
Zoning and bylaws: it is felt that some of the bylaws (ie; parking, lighting, signage) cause roadblocks for businesses and should be reviewed to make Princeton more ‘business friendly.’
It is suggested that Zoning bylaws should protect the investors.
Issues with business licensing: licensing should be made possible without delays.
Highway signage: needs improvement and signs to direct travellers to the downtown core and things that we are proud of (ie; museum and parks) is a necessity. (The Ministry of Transportation is already committed to changing the highway signs)
Promotion of the community: promoting recreation and quality of life. Suggestions to do so; attending trade shows, creating attractions and amenities (for instance a swimming pool), promoting recreation as an economic draw and update websites and make better use of social media (ie: Facebook and web pages) Chamber to promote the business and offer courses on marketing.
Other issues of concern discussed were, the appearance of the Highway 3 boulevard, snow removal policy, utility costs, customer service, hours of operation, diversity in business, storefront appearances, working together with Area ‘H’, growing the community and creating more employment.
The top of the list of concerns above all was that Princeton needs more people to support business – more population – more customers.
At the end of the meeting, a committee of volunteers from the business community signed up to work with Council to go over issues and work towards resolutions for them.
Committee members are; Brenda Crawford, Corry Oerlemans, Dawn Gardner, Susan Robinson, and Murray White.