EDITORIAL: Buy-in needed for downtown

Idle sites require attention to continue to support health of Nanaimo.

The road to revitalization in downtown Nanaimo has a number of speed bumps in its way despite the efforts of property and business owners buying into the idea of breathing life – and the people it attracts – back into the area.

From the new-look Port Place shopping centre to freshly painted businesses such as the Acme Food Co., good corporate citizens are giving the downtown a new, modern look.

Even the Vancouver Island Conference Centre – often described as a ‘white elephant’ – is esthetically pleasing and kick started the revitalization campaign.

The same cannot be said of the ‘purple dinosaur’ sitting kitty corner to the centre across Terminal Avenue.

The A&B Sound building was vacated four years ago, sitting idle as absentee owners wait for a tenant to sign a lease.

With predictions of slow economic times ahead for not only Nanaimo, Canada and North America, finding someone to invest time and money into the building could prove difficult.

But it’s not impossible.

in fact, it’s tough to buy the argument that times are that tough when projects like Port Place and University Village in Harewood continue forward despite the economic climate.

The city has no authority to tell business owners to sink millions of dollars into projects and get them completed.

But like the unsightly property bylaws that homeowners must adhere to, something must be done.

Or better yet, owners themselves can buy into the overall concept of an attractive downtown and spruce up their buildings.

A good first step would be transforming properties that attract attention for all the wrong reasons.

It also makes good business sense.