Retail initiative garners support

Save Our Sidney group should hold Mayor’s Task Force accountable, says local retail consultant

Sidney retail shop owner Garry Froese outlined what he thinks needs to be done to save downtown business.

Some 50 residents and business owners have stepped up to take a more active role in the future of retail in Sidney’s downtown core.

A new group called Save Our Sidney (SOS) has formed under the direction of the Sidney Tourism Improvement Group (STIG) and Steve Duck of the TIDES Group. They held a forum April 9 (after News Review press deadlines)  at the Mary Winspear Centre, featuring retail consultant Richard Talbot and local business owner Garry Froese.

Froese, owner of In Touch Cards and Gifts on Beacon Avenue, said Sidney finds itself under siege right now from proposed commercial developments in Central Saanich (Jesken Town Centre) and North Saanich (Sandown Commons).

“Vacancy rates are high and (the Town) has no long-range business plans — only beautification,” Froese said. “There are businesses in Sidney that do not have the wherewithal to hang on for two more years.”

That timeline is being touted by Talbot as the buffer between now and when the new commercial properties start to develop.

“Sidney isn’t seen as a destination shopping hub,” Froese continued. “We need to be able to attract people outside of the community … as well as hold on to our local customers.”

Froese outlined a series of actions he suggests the Town take — from improved parking and drop-off zones, to lower commercial taxes and uniform business hours.

Talbot, making his third public presentation on threats to local retail, said his hope is that the SOS group gets plenty of public support to back up the efforts of the recently-announced Mayor’s Task Force on Sidney’s downtown.

“As a professional in this field, it would be remiss of me not to do anything,” he said. “If nothing is done, Sidney might have to downsize its downtown, like Oak Bay or Ganges.”

Talbot said the SOS needs to support the task force and be prepared to hold it accountable — as well as keep the issue at the fore during this fall’s municipal election. He added a workshop will be held soon for the estimated 50 people who signed up to learn more through SOS.

Denis Paquette, head of  STIG, said he’s looking forward to being involved with the Mayor’s Task Force. He continued, however, to advocate for two-way traffic along Beacon Avenue — something that Mayor Larry Cross has stated will not be on the table for this task force.

 

Just Posted

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

Peninsula speed skating duo aiming for the national stage

Pair opted to train in long track skating this season for the first time

Tent city resident just wants a home

Roving tent city has made its way to Central Saanich

Oak Bay showcases non-profits and more with inaugural volunteer fair

The Oak Bay Volunteer fair runs Jan. 20 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Monterey Recreation Centre

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Injured parachutist wants stolen backpack back

Bag contained important video files of 2017 parachuting incident

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Jan. 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Most Read