Sidney business registry is in the works

Businesses looking to set up shop in Sidney will soon have another resource to help make their decision clear.

Businesses looking to set up shop in Sidney will soon have another resource to help make their decision clear.

The Town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) is proposing a suite of tools of business activities and vacancies in the plan, to make available in a searchable database — calling it a commercial business registry.

The EDC outlined their initiative during Town council’s Jan. 9 meeting, summarizing some of their work over the last eight months.

Geri Byrne, Chair of the EDC, explained in a media release that the EDC’s initiatives will create invaluable tools for anyone wishing to start a business and will provide insight into the economic health of the community along with many other valuable metrics and trends for the Town and other business organizations.

The EDC report is a follow up to a profile report presented to the Town by the Sidney Business Improvement Association (SBIA) in March 2016, that mainly described the various business vacancies in downtown Sidney. That report stated there were 14 per cent vacancies in downtown Sidney — or that 61 of 437 commercial spaces were empty in January, 2016.

Council at the time voted to send the report on to the EDC, tasking them with determining the report’s best use in establishing an ‘updatable’ commercial vacancy registry.

The Jan. 9 presentation did not update the vacancy numbers. It did outline the EDC’s plans in the first phase of its business registry project to work with a commercial real estate agent this year to “build in existing information.”

Byrne outlined the EDC’s plan to complete the registry in 2017 and 2018. Phase one also includes identifying business types and implementing an “eco-counter” system (pedestrian counting), and updating council in February.

Phases two and three over the same time period will look to extend the business registry to the West Sidney industrial area and the Harbour Road marine area. The EDC also indicated they would work with the Town on a communication strategy.