To the Editor,
Re: What’s the plan for South Port?, Letters, Dec. 27.
The plan starts with the merchants and not city hall.
The city really has a limited role in the goings on in uptown. They keep the streets clean, the flowers watered and enforce any applicable bylaws to make things run as smoothly as possible.
I believe the real responsibility lies with the merchants and shareholders themselves to act and react to the needs of uptown and their customers. They should ask when applicable for assistance from the city in regards to signage and assistance on access to monies for improvements.
The businesses the letter writer, Mr. Ashby, cited—Zellers, The Brick, Home Hardware, coffee houses, etc.—were either failed business models or needed to expand into larger facilities—none of which the city had any say in. Zellers failed nationally, not just here.
I personally see a bright future for uptown and I have received very good input from Mayor John Douglas, who kindly supports me by buying a cup of coffee, encouraging me and taking the time to listen to my ideas.
I have been invited to numerous meetings with every department of city hall and have been asked what I think could help. I feel the city has a real desire to help in anyway they can.
As the letter writer pointed out, the private sector has a business plan, but the city is a public sector and is in the business of running the city, not coddling retailers.
The merchants of South Port have to step up and take control of their own destiny. We are all working together on a plan—public and private—to make this city even better than it already is. Please feel free to join us.
(Editor’s note: Kevin Wright owns SteamPunk Café and Coffee House and is vice-president of the Uptown Merchants Association.)