New Window Wrap on King Street

Carol McCann, Chair of the Downtown Coalition, this morning “unveiled” a window wrap for another empty store. On June 27, the Town launched the “Start here program” to help attract businesses to Downtown so that they would occupy empty stores and together with the C.I.P. program, the Downtown Coalition hopes that Downtown, particularly King Street, will become more attractive and thriving. Carol feels that already we are getting more visitors from Toronto and the wraps certainly do improve the look of empty stores. She also said that the quality of Community Improvement Program applications is improving and that the size of the grants is increasing (see link below).  Carol reported progress to Council last March and expects to make another report to the new Council in early 2019.

Window wrap at 79 King West
Window wrap at 79 King West

There was a good turnout at the “unveiling” – as well as Mayor Brocanier and Deputy Mayor John Henderson, councillors Suzanne Séguin and Aaron Burchat were there as well as candidates Adam Bureau and Randy Curtis and Economic Development Staff Wendy Gibson and Melissa Graham.

The store with the new Window Wrap was the former Mom to Mom Boutique store at 79 King West. This store is one of several at this address (it’s a condo development) and is available for lease.  Next door is another store available for sale at $236K or lease. The photo at right is of the group in front of the “wrap” which shows an imaginary clothing store – although any type of store would work.

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Rusty Brown

“…places like Burlington, Vt., a liberal enclave, and Greenville, S.C., solidly Republican. Each has a waterfront that anchors a lively downtown. Downtowns, it turns out, are one of the indicators as to whether a once-struggling place is coming back to life. “Downtown ambitions of any sort are a positive sign, and occupied second- and third-floor apartments and condos over restaurants and stores suggest that the downtown has crossed a decisive threshold and will survive,” they write. Public-private partnerships — which they discuss excitedly in town after town — are another thing that helps communities get into a groove.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/books/review/our-towns-james-deborah-fallows.html

manfred s

to arrive at an answer we must first know what the question is. Seems to me a good question to start with is ‘why do we have the commercial vacancies we do, downtown?’

Struggling to find solutions, such as window wraps, is pointless if you don’t recognize the problem. Window wraps may be new and innovative but do they address the core issue?

One thing is for sure, window wraps are an answer to another question which is ‘what can we come up with to satisfy a market that doesn’t really know what it wants or needs to do it’s job?’ Some clever marketing types have certainly cashed in on the turmoil in the retail industry by providing a flamboyant product to those looking for solutions to questions they haven’t even asked

Albert

So why do we?

manfred s

maybe it’s easier to be seen tackling a problem you can definitely yourself than one that’s hard to actually pin down

Rusty Brown

“The first step in solving a problem is to [correctly] define the problem.”

Perhaps we could start with “who are our potential customers downtown, and what do they want to spend their money on? Assuming they have any money to spend.”

manfred s

my answer to that would be ‘ anyone in the downtown is a potential customer for one or more businesses located and doing business there’. As for their purpose, that can range from just about anything to anything, given the range of active businesses there at the time. Take a look at the feet on the street any time of day and you can see that they all appear to be there for some sort of business, personal or otherwise. That, in part, is why I say ‘I don’t agree that there is a problem’. Maybe I could be persuaded in the notion that the ‘problem’ we, you, everyone here appears to be thinking about, is the number of feet out there. And, when I really get down to the nitty-gritty of it, the number of those feet have been in decline since the explosion of commercial activity in the periphery, a reality not unique to our town. Past market studies showed that this would happen but they didn’t accurately state to what degree it would, and now that we’re livin’ the dream of bigger and better shopping opportunities locally, we are getting the bill for it in the form… Read more »

Rusty Brown

“…anyone in the downtown is a potential customer…”
Not true, seems to me. If 80% of them are “of limited means” and therefore very “price sensitive” then trendy, upscale boutiques and restaurants are not the answer. Downscale, value-for-money establishments are what is needed. They are mostly not suburban families that arrived by car, I suspect.

manfred s

it might be a limited perspective to think only of retail goods as the most important draw for the downtown. We have many services of all kinds and food related businesses that all draw potential customers, even “price sensitive” ones of limited means. With that in mind I still think everyone is a potential customer.

manfred s

“definitely” should read “define”

manfred s

I see lots of ‘thumbs down’ here so let me ask you, ‘if we’re actually still addressing an identified problem with the wraps, why have none of the other ‘solutions’ solved anything so far?’ So many ideas out there, some tried, some not, and still we believe we have a ‘problem’. Politician types, consultants, experts and the like all struggling to ‘solve the problem’. Can anyone tell us exactly which problem they’re trying to solve? In reality, the Town has little at stake, financially anyway, because no matter what the state of the commercial downtown, the Town’s revenues are not appreciably affected. Now, what IS affected is the property values of PRIVATE properties, given that their revenue production is compromised by that same poor state. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that’s the stye in the eye here and the pressure on the town to ‘fix’ it comes from that direction. The Town’s reaction is to at least appear to be solving THAT problem, because anything else is really not a problem for the Town. Window wraps are a pretty flashy display of their effort to be seen to be at least trying to do… Read more »

Wally Keeler

Business, as an entity, is fully aware of the shortcomings and weaknesses at play in every down town and is fully capable of dealing with them in it’s own way.”

YUP!

Albert

You are starting to lose me.
Let’s cut to the chase!
What IS the problem with Cobourg’s downtown and what would YOU as Mayor do to fix it?

manfred s

it does look like I’ve lost you because I keep saying that, in my singular opinion, there is no ‘problem’ to be fixed, with or without intervention by the Town. That answers both of your questions. More careful reading, I think, would make that clear. What would I do, as Mayor? That was also made clear when I ran for the office in 2006. My positions on most Municipal matters was clearly laid out in my website at the time. Just for interest sake, back in 2002, vying for the DM seat along with our present Mayor, I was the first and only candidate with a fully detailed website of my positions, and the comment at the time, from my opponent, Gill B, was that it was a lame effort as a campaign for the DM seat. Fast forward to today and note the many campaign methods being used in these times. But I digress. Nothing has changed since then, as far as I can see anyway, but to restate all of that here would be insufferable for the rest of the guests here so my posts here might bring some of it back as time goes on. Suffice it… Read more »

Gil B

Well Manfred let me remind you of important dates. In 2006 you ran against me for DM and lost. In 2010 you were a last minute substitute for Martin Partridge and ran against me for Mayor and lost again. Prior to that I was elected to Council in 2003 and became the Coordinator of Recreation and Culture which made me the Council rep for the DBIA. At the same time you were being ousted as Treasurer of the DBIA ro mis-management of their funds. I still have my notes from back then on meetings with you, the then DBIA Board and the financial auditors, so I know where the bodies are buried. Maybe you could enlighten us on your exact initiatives on promoting the downtown back then as you seem to have great insight today.

manfred s

an IMPORTANT correction is called for here. This matter of DBIA finances should read: When the elected treasurer resigned upon suddenly and suspiciously closing his business, the Board asked for someone to finish the term of treasurer and after no others offered, I did indeed step forward. It was discovered that the previous treasurer had commingled DBIA funds with his own business banking. That gave rise to some very serious and complicated book keeping in cooperation with the bank involved as well. At the end of the fiscal period, when the Town Treasurer had their auditor review the books, I was asked to sign off on the DBIA books, which I firmly declined to do since my tenure was part-term and I was not willing to accept responsibility for the contents of the final report. The Town Treasurer was unwilling to revise the final Auditor’s Report to reflect my concerns of what had happened during the term, for which I had no respobsibility. Ultimately, the Town signed off. The following term, I was returned as treasurer and fulfilled the duties as per requirements and the Auditor concluded that everything had been returned to proper condituons and all was in order.… Read more »

manfred s

… and by the way, I have NEVER been ousted from anything, period. In fact, I have been officially recognized, thanked and awarded by the Town and the DBIA for my many years of service with the DBIA. Again, I expect to see your apology in the near future.

Gil B

Finally back after a few days off. Manfred I do apologize for the word ousted as it is probably too strong. If you resigned it was a reluctant resignation as the incoming Board for the DBIA made it clear they no longer wanted you on the Board and put together a slate that ensured you would be replaced as Treasurer at the DBIA AGM. It certainly wasn’t the new Board that thanked you as you refused to provide information that was requested of you not only with finances but the mismanagement of the only DBIA employee at the time as you were the sole supervisor of the individual. You still never answered my original question of what you did to advance the position of the downtown when you were on the Board.

manfred s

your statements are STILL entirely devoid of facts. There was never a request for me to resign, in fact I continued as interim treasurer for some time, as I agreed to, until a treasurer could be found to fill the vacancy by the proper means. I had never asked nor run to be treasurer but did volunteer until a replacement for the one who ubruptly resigned and left town could be installed. I have no idea what information you allege I refused to provide. In fact I instituted a written Treasurer’s report with supporting documents as part of every Board meeting to avoid any future possibility of what had just happened under the treasurer who had just resigned. I did refuse to sign off on the Auditor’s report for reasons already given. The employee you refer to was the maintenance person and the Treasurer tracked hours for the purpose of payroll. He reported to the Board for his duties.

I have a feeling this exchange is more about attacking me for some obscure reason than about my contributions over the many years of my involvements in various projects and initiatives.

Gil B

On the contrary Manfred, I have great respect for you running a successful business for so many years in downtown Cobourg. You achieved something few people have been able to do. I just feel you misrepresent what you did do and could have done for the downtown.

manfred s

If that’s an apology, Gil, you might want to say a whole book of “Our Father”s and “Hail Mary”s after your next confession. I will say that all of the “misrepresentations” posted here lately have been by you. As for grand claims of any great accomplishments by me, I don’t see any here, and certainly none we’re implied. All my comments on this blog are driven by my 40+ years of downtown experience and such, are my singular opinion and I’ve never claimed or suggested otherwise, something that the regular readers here will certainly recognize. Everything I’ve said in response to your attack is straight forward facts which anyone with enough interest can research and verify. I hope this puts an end to this unprovoked and ill-intended attack by you, before you say something that I cannot ignore or down play. Whatever else may happen, I think you’ve certainly shown your true stripes.

My apologies to John Draper and the readers of this blog, for the discomfort they may have experienced during this unreasonable public exchange between two political adversaries. This is not the place for such poor behaviour and to a degree, I regret my necessary participation.

Frenchy

Gil?

manfred s

don’t hold your breath Frenchy, I’m certainly not. Attacks such as Gil’s stem from fear and the inability to face and deal with challenges to one’s ego. This is exactly what I had written in a comment a few days ago and which Rob thought to be off the mark. Proof is in the pudding.

Walter L. Luedtke

It seems from the comments of the ‘anonymous’ CTA supporters below that the CTA has given up on our Downtown.
The issue is in Cobourg, as in many other municipalities, that no level playing field exists between the franchise operations on Strathy Road and Elgin West- parking, new buildings, vast head office advertising resources – and the individually owned businesses on King Street.
The downtown businesses are up against overwhelming competition and they need a helping hand from the public purse.
Of course – and this is perhaps what the CTA would like to see – is that the King Street buildings get torn down and we get a downtown patterned after the Shoppers Drug Mart site.

Bill Thompson

Walter
You may want to seek help for an addiction ……CTA”ism”.that is becoming more and more prevalent.
It appears that you have an obsession of default disagreement with a non -profit organization whose sole purpose is to address issues of interest /concern to the tax paying public of the town and you have to attack automatically for some reason or other.
Could I suggest first you have a face to face with the CTA members to give them feedback in person rather than from behind a computer, keyboard ,which illustrates another trait?

Wally Keeler

…rather than from behind a computer, keyboard ,which illustrates another trait?

That “trait” pretty much applies to every commentator on this blog, and doubly so for pseudos.

Walter L. Luedtke

“Face to face with the CTA members”?
How many members are there and do I have to rent a hall?

Rusty Brown

“…we get a downtown patterned after the Shoppers Drug Mart site…”
We are already well along in that process, seems to me, with the original Beamish Store, the slick CIBC effort, the Northumberland Today site, the discount store at King and Division etc. just concrete boxes – most single storey – stuck into the antique “heritage” architecture.”
We passed the point of no return long ago with our downtown, seems to me.

manfred s

“…the point of no return”, well, maybe of a return to what once was, but where in the progressive world does anything survive by returning to what once was? Do we want to “return”? I suggest there’s far more opportunity in the directions in front of us than what lies in our wake and lamenting a ‘point of no return’ gets us nowhere better.

Frenchy

Pretend stores. What next, pretend shoppers? Maybe they can set out some mannequins on the street to make it look like people are actually shopping downtown. You know, like hunters set out those duck and geese decoys.

perplexed

First of all Taking photos and Celebrating the fact that there is another empty store front is a FAILURE ! a FLOOP and the Fact that another Tenant BIT THE DUST is not to be Glamorized or Celebrated that shop owner is suffering and dealing with a LOSS . $$$$$$ THEY MAY HAVE TO GO BANKRUPT AND START OVER AS SO MANY OTHERS have in down town Cobourg But thats a Number that the Economic Development office chose not to keep track of or learn from . Secondly I agree with Denise Mr Lee’s store fronts in and out and are very respectable and I think he should be commended for many of his efforts in this town ‘ despite the hurdles and pit falls he has been presented with . Tax reductions are given to the Property owners but the second they are occupied the Town charges Full tilt which is quickly passed along to the tenant along with everything else such as T M I Tax , Maintenance , Insurance which can be a huge ticket items on buildings that suspect and derelict , then there are the utility and heat cost on these less than Energy efficient… Read more »

Stan G

How much rent are the owners of these empty storefronts asking for? I’ve long felt it odd that some of them seems to prefer to pay tax on an empty place, rather than lower the rent.

manfred s

Rent is one critical component but the most important one is the real potential and sustained opportunity to attract enough business (sales) to warrant taking a risk in the first place. Any entrepreneur who does the math knows what they can expect as far as expenses go but the other half of the formula is the key. Asking or cajoling businesses to take the risk in the face of less than stellar odds of success is a fools game. Show them what they need to know, not what looks good on the face.
They want to see people on the street all day long and they want to see a steady turnover of customers day in, day out. Rent, that’s just a piece of the puzzle.

Stan G

All fair points. Out of curiosity, do you know what the going rate is for a storefront downtown? I know it will obviously vary greatly based on location, size and condition of the space, etc.

manfred s

as for a ‘going rate’, I don’t think that’s an actual number, given the many nuances, physical site issues, location, conditions, owner idiosyncrasies, proposed occupancy-related renovations, and on and on. It simply boils down to what the landlord needs (wants) and what the potential occupant has available in their business plan, AND is in a position and able to pay. If that occupant can convince the landlord of an agreement that will meet both their needs and expectations, that becomes the ‘going rate’ for that location. Any other use of ‘going rate’ is an attempt to sidestep the very important negotiation that a new business has to undertake as a first step to future success. The way I look at it, even though it doesn’t answer your question with a direct dollar answer.

Denise Liboiron

Various and as you stated it depends on condition, size and included features – like any rental of a residential space does too. Also the tmi. If you go to Realtor.ca you can search under commercial and see what is available and for how much in any town and compare. All my commercial listings are for lease or for sale and all have immersive virtual tours so you can “walk through “ virtually to see what they look like inside and the listing explains the rent rate and the taxes and maintenance and insurance costs or condo fee. It’s also on all the shop windows printed out and taped – not glamourous but people want the deets so I stuck the sheet up there for the luddites (I jest) who don’t have access to the World Wide Web — or at least don’t have a wifi signal while passing by : ) Hope this helps. It’s not a question you can give an easy cut and dried answer to as Manfred explained — but 12-15 dollars a square foot-ish and depending… or check listing on my site http://www.deniseliboiron.com I also have a link to town amenities and a video of… Read more »

Mrs Jenkins

l dare the downtown to make two blocks pedestrian only for August nd September -l dare the downtown to give free parking for a month ot two -l dare to see what happens???????/

manfred s

…and what do YOU have to loose if it fizzles?
If that idea we’re to have support of the businesses it would affect, fine, but I don’t see that being the case. Actually running a business has a habit of crushing rose-coloured glasses and holding out the smelling-salts and viewing such polyanna ideas a bit more pragmatically.

Denise Liboiron

Funny – that will get you many opinions both for and against by Downtown shop Owners. Depends on the service or business. Also varying views from the residents and patrons — as many already claim annoyance at walking one or two car lengths or going around the block once to park out in front of the store they are heading to — or heaven forbid they have to go 20 yards to a parking lot. It’s so different as when you are in a city nobody thinks twice about how far they go to park and even go a little further in order to get parking garage or spot that is a little cheaper, even if they could get closer by paying more. I find Human nature and expectations quite interesting. This doesn’t refer to those who can’t travel easily by walking — but those are special circumstances and handled by getting dropped in front or picked up in front by a friend or helper and or handicap parking options. ( Disclaimer: – Excuse my ignorance if that is incorrect term these days – I’m not always up on the current vernacular for political correct terminology and do not ever… Read more »

Walter L. Luedtke

Interesting insights. Thank you Denise.

manfred s

human nature…yes…the biggest variable of all. That’s part of it when I say it’s not a problem we’re facing but rather an ever-changing set of circumstances and conditions, including the human factor.

3 stores…same product
1st store offers high quality, high price, immediate availability
2nd store offers medium quality, medium price, short delay in availability
3rd store offers medium quality, low price, significant wait time
Which one gets the business?
What would change if more choices were added to the mix? Probably the level of difficulty in making a final choice.
Our demands for a miriad of choices still ends up in just 1 being purchased by any one customer, probably. However, the absence of that buffet of choices locally ends up leaving the overall impression of a broader ‘lacking’ in the local retail landscape. That’s not a ‘perceived problem’ we can ‘solve’ given our level of consumer market. If we are looking for a ‘problem’ to solve, it’s probably the ‘human problem’.

Steven G.

You can wrap all the empty store fronts you want, but when is someone going to do something about the garbage, cigarette butts (especially in front of the Subway and that building) and all the dog crap that never ever gets scooped up. The other night while out walking, the downtown is starting to smell and it is noticeable. Can the Town not power wash some of these sidewalks especially up by Shoppers Drug Mart. I just think this would be a regular maintenance that the Town would do, considering we all have to take care of our own properties in the same manner.

Tim

The Town is too busy maintaining places like the Rotary Park and we’ve got all those consultants to pay. Instead of a “cultural plan” how about a “cleaning plan”. A pristine main street is what every taxpayer expects but it’s something our Council is not willing to provide even though they are on a campaign to encourage people to open businesses there. I’m glad you pointed out the filth downtown. It’s a further example of how out of touch this Council is. There are a lot of low-income housing apartments in the centre of Cobourg that attract a very low form of humanity resulting in criminality and general filth. This is a divided town — the Council encourages well-off retirees to invest a great deal of their savings when they purchase homes here and at the same time they re-zone properties downtown to allow developers to provide dreadful housing for the underclasses, many of whom do not even originate here. I think we import them. It’s very lucrative for the low-income apartment owner though since there are provincial and of course municipal grants for building repairs, etc. It’s shocking to walk over dog shit and cigarette butts and experience bad… Read more »

Steven G.

Thanks Tim, it is nice to know that someone else can appreciate what I am talking about. I’ve lived downtown now for almost 12 years and it is just getting worst each and every year. It use to be really nice to walk at night and sit on the benches for awhile and watch whatever was going on, but the dirt, dog shit and cigarette butts and the smell !!! have made us change our way of life in downtown.

Wally Keeler

“There are a lot of low-income housing apartments in the centre of Cobourg that attract a very low form of humanity resulting in criminality and general filth. … housing for the underclasses, many of whom do not even originate here.”

This is classic bigotry. Disgusting. Your comments reflect a very low form of humanity within yourself.

Tim

This is not bigotry. This is the truth. There are many people who are not well-off whom I have nothing but respect for and who deserve decent housing and every possible advantage this town has to offer. There are landlords, and you don’t have to go far to find them, who offer lousy accommodation and will rent to anyone including drug dealers and every other low form of humanity. Where do you think the dog shit and cigarette butts come from — poor but decent hard-working families trying to infuse their children with community values?

Rob

Dog shit and cigarette butts are found in my (significantly) above middle income neighbourhood Tim … please tell me this is an intentional attempt to be controversial and that you are not this ignorant. Your attempt to walk-back what you said in the earlier post has fail gloriously … sometimes our inside voices should just stay there …

We can agree however a concerted effort should be made to deep clean and strictly maintain/beautify our already postcard-like downtown.

Wally Keeler

Timwit asserts, “There are a lot of low-income housing apartments in the centre of Cobourg that attract a very low form of humanity…

Timwit asserts, “There are many people who are not well-off whom I have nothing but respect for.”

Sure ya do. It’s quite transparent that you have a lot respect for individuals who constitute a “very low form of humanity” and live in “low-income housing apartments.”

Tim

Why don’t you learn how to read.

Rob

Tim – there are few lower forms of humanity than those who judge others based on income, and/or ability to purchase a home and tie that to criminality (and filth). Cobourg would be better served if you’d consider connecting with a real estate agent and perhaps take your discriminatory dog and pony show south of the border. Get a grip lil Timmy.

Tim

Rob, I do not tie criminality and filth to low income, you’re the one who made that connection. People who pretend they’re good and attempt to convince other people just how good they are, often project their own prejudices on others. When I used the term “low form of humanity”, I was describing criminal types, as in drug dealers, and the types of people who will throw garbage and cigarettes butts or whatever they like on the ground and who never pick up after their dogs. I do judge that behaviour and always will. I don’t judge anyone according to how much money they have in their pockets or whether or not they can afford a home and I resent being described that way.

Rob

So not to put too fine a point on this subject but for the sake of clarity, you literally tied low-income housing to attracting a low-level of humanity resulting in criminality – its very linear actually. Hey (dog) shit happens and context can be difficult to convey online! Anywho, its a beautiful day and setting up to be a great long weekend….maybe we will catch each other at the Beach Bar and we can chat further. I’ll be the guy drinking a cold beer – have a good one! Cheers

Wally Keeler

“… I resent being described that way.”

Facts are important, not your tender widdle feelings. Some individuals reading some of your despicable comments about other Cobourg citizens might conclude that you are part of a “very low form of humanity.” Unfortunately, the description fits whether you resent it or not.

Wally Keeler

Can the Town not power wash some of these sidewalks especially up by Shoppers Drug Mart.

Back in the late 50s the Town brought out the Fire Dept to hose down Chapel Street area on a regular basis; to power wash away the side effects of tens of thousands of starlings that spent the night there. Residents walked with open umbrellas to protect against droppings.

I had no idea that downtown Cobourg had fallen into that same foul condition. .

Steven G.

Thanks for the support Wally ..

Wally Keeler

I will support power washing when it gets as bad as Chapel Street in the late 50s, but the Spring St/King St doesn’t meet that standard, far from it. Perhaps you should educate yourself about that starling issue of the day and get a bit of perspective.And don’t be so presumptuous that I support you — I definitely do not.

Tim

Steven G. Never expect support from Wally for anything that requires common sense. You’d have to wait until there were hills of dog shit and many weekend visitors have slipped on them and broken their necks. At one time the downtown was a very desirable place to live with none of the problems you describe. I had friends who lived downtown and I always thought the apartments above the stores were spacious and beautiful in their proportion. Many people would often stroll downtown at night and sit on the few benches that were there. It says a lot about our Council that they can’t even keep our main street clean but they don’t have any problem helping unscrupulous landlords who fill their buildings with very frightening criminal types.
As for you, Wally, who cares what you support. You and people like you — and unfortunately their are far too many in this town — are the reason we have the feckless Council we do. You’re not even offended by dog shit.

Ken

I find one problem with downtown Cobourg is that now being in a wheel chair I can’t get into half of the shops and stores downtown as they have at least one step up from the sidewalk.Another reason to go to the mall and Walmart along with parking

Albert

Accessibility Concern? Make a Barrier Report.
If you have experienced one of these five barriers LET US KNOW:
Buildings or areas not adequately accessible to users of mobility aids.
Outdoor hazards e.g. blocked or damaged sidewalks, overgrown shrubs, inadequate snow or ice removal, malfunctioning lights or cross-walk devices etc.
Indoor hazards e.g. tripping hazards, inadequate lighting, inadequate alarm systems, rooms or areas inaccessible to users of mobility aids.
Communication barriers involving service provision or customer service.
Transportation barriers
https://www.cobourg.ca/en/town-hall/Accessibility.aspx

Bill Thompson

Does the town offer reduced business rates for the first year to encourage/give financial relief to new entrepreneurs trying to get established?
I recall the grocery store Peaches that started up a few years ago where the hairdresser salon is now in the condos .
They lasted one year as they were paying $1700 per month and I can assume there are many others who tried to get established and failed and could identify with this situation.
Didn’t the young couple who now run the concession stand in Victoria Park try to establish a much needed grocery store in town and couldn’t afford the charges ?

Walter L. Luedtke

Uh oh!
Now you ask the taxpayer to subsidize new businesses?
Are you sure you have checked this out with the CTA?
They will be horrified, no?
They dumped all over CIVI – http://cobourgtaxpayer.com/48-issues/150-downtown-vitalization-and-civi

Wally Keeler

Does the town offer reduced business rates for the first year to encourage/give financial relief to new entrepreneurs trying to get established?

It’s just a question, Walter, not a recommendation..

Walter L. Luedtke

Hi Wally!
The rest of Bill’s post gives you an idea where he is going with this.
And I agree with him.
Anything the Town can do to help new downtown businesses financially would be welcome.

Rusty Brown

“…reduced business rates for the first year…paying $1700 per month…”.
What are we talking about here? If it’s rent, then the town has nothing to do with it – it’s a contract between owner and renter. If it’s some kind of tax, $1,700 a month seems excessive. Perhaps you mean rent should be subsidized by the town for the first year. Anyone?

manfred s

those comments should be filed with all the other ‘stab-in-the-dark’ ideas that get put forward as solutions to the ‘problem’ that’s not really a ‘problem’. As long as we keep defining a ficticious ‘problem’ we’ll keep coming up with hapless solutions for it. Once we summon the courage to identify what’s going on, we’ll get on track to do what is needed to change the situation we are calling a ‘problem’ instead of ‘current trends and conditions’.

manfred s

there is no such charge by the town as “business rate”. Business taxes as a standalone levy we’re eliminated many years ago. Today the town charges only property taxes.

Just as an aside here, ‘rents’ could be next to nothing and it still doesn’t guarantee business success. There are many other costs that together can far outstrip rent. The critical factor in business success is ‘income’ and if that is insufficient, no amount of shaving the expenses will bring success. The primary focus has to be on ‘customer count’, not expenses. Get that sorted out and it’s a big step in the ‘success’ direction.

Rusty Brown

I’m still trying to figure out what this $1,700. per month is, if not a “business rate”. ???

Steve Wilkes

What our Downtown Community really needs is more foot traffic, people need a reason to visit, vacant locations creates the wrong vibe – It would be interesting to see if the Town could partner with Flemming College and their Culinary and Business programs, build out a variety of restaurants to offer students a unique opportunity to learn and hone their business and culinary skills. It would give people a reason to visit and build foot traffic. The students may need housing and there are plenty of second floor spaces to rent. Who knows, graduates may actually stay. Think of it as a Venture13 incubator for the culinary arts!

Mrs. Anonymous

This is absolutely not the role of a municipal government.

manfred s

I agree. The role of Municipal government is to provide a safe, secure, healthy infrastructure and environment for it’s citizens, including business citizens, but not to inject public funds into private properties or businesses, regardless of the “possible” benefits. Such initiatives do little in an environment where the participants are not themselves willing to ante-up.

Dubious

Well said Manfred! At least Gill will no longer be leading the giveaway.

Albert

His name is Gil.

Steve Wilkes

The current state and approaches are not providing a sustainable result. The downtown is in decline, turning it around will require a change in thinking. Note Municipal Government includes water, sewage, waste collection, public transit, libraries, emergency services, animal control, land use planning and economic development. Canadian will be spending more money eating in restaurants in 2018. The average home is expected to spend almost 30 per cent of its food budget in food service, the highest level in history. CANADA’S 2018 FOOD PRICE REPORT! – If you have the opportunity visit Budapest and the Gozsdu Courtyard area – 25 restaurants, arts & music venues, etc – its full of people because it is the place to go!

Wally Keeler

I have visited Gozsdu Udvar during commie days and post-commie days. It works because Budapest is the Capital, is the alpha city of Hungary, and has almost 2 million people. And that is where wealth is generated. I recommend a stroll along Vaci Utca for shopping high end.

Frenchy

“but not to inject public funds into private properties or businesses, regardless of the “possible” benefits. Such initiatives do little in an environment where the participants are not themselves willing to ante-up.”
Should we take it from this, that you are not in favour of the CIP program?

manfred s

in part, yes. Having said that, I’m ok with a loan-only program, sans any ‘forgivable portions’ clauses, but not ANY grant portions. Downtown Businesses do often struggle with financial health and challenges and extra funds available for ‘heritage quality’ refurbishments which have their own price category. A straight, low interest rate loan program would help out in those situations and not be funded by one-way (in only) public money. Everybody gets what they ultimately can work with and the downtown and town on a whole gains overall.

Steve Wilkes

I understand the Town has an Economic Development Office and I would argue it is the role of the Town to bring people to the downtown. I partnership wit Flemming, Northumberland, the Town and Province could create a very dynamic place to visit, imagine 6-8 new restaurants featuring culinary styles from around the world. Add other Arts, a music venue and Downtown becomes a destination for people to visit and enjoy. Check out Niagara College and the Benchmark Restaurant, an absolute success for the students and community ,

Dubious

I understand that our Economic Development person is soon to retire.
Hopefully she will not be replaced!

I would love a good downtown restaurant. However, lavishing taxpayer money on downtown businesses is unfair to the other businesses in downtown. Why spend on King Street rather than on Strathy Road?

Attracting tourists to a free beach does not help downtown businesses and is a nuisance for the residents. Did anyone try to travel from east to west in Cobourg yesterday?

Wally Keeler

Attracting tourists to a free beach does not help downtown businesses and is a nuisance for the residents. Did anyone try to travel from east to west in Cobourg yesterday?

Oh the unbearable suffering, all because of ONE day, One. All the baby-whining Grumps Groaners and Gripes should grow up and get over it. Go cuddle a teddy bear.

Lots of line-ups at both the Ice Cream Shops, Even the Blue Box reported tourists buying stuff. Freakin” Ricans did a brisk business. Lots and lots and lots of municipal parking revenue, even for private entrepreneurs who rented parking spaces for $20 all day, Saw lots of tourists at the sub shop, pizza joint, Students working in various ice cream parlours, and the canteen and other Park duties all earn their tuition. A Town study earlier this year revealed that during the months of July and August 20,000 more people are drawn to the Downtown. The Town delivered them to the street, so it is up to the private entrepreneurs to capitalize on that opportunity.

manfred s

yup

Denise Liboiron

I Read the first few comments below here….FYI – What is behind this particular store is very fresh, contemporary and turn key ~ as in move-in ready ~ with high ceilings, modern light fixtures, terrazzo flooring, large storefront display windows. People who have never been inside should perhaps not make general comments without being informed. There are some stores downtown on King that are definitely not what would be considered turnkey – not fixed up inside. Maybe that was being referred to. The King George Mews are turnkey other than personalization for one’s business. Last time I commented on here I mentioned I had been working for a few months on leasing the stores now instead of just selling them (they had previously been only for sale.) I have one more of the spaces leased and a second one is still in the planning stage but almost confirmed. Not sure any wrapping had anything to do with it as they were already in the works ~ but it cannot hurt to have some focus and energy and inspiration for people, to show what some of the places may look like if filled with retail. If anyone wants to come and… Read more »

Mrs. Anonymous

” but it cannot hurt to have some focus and energy and inspiration for people, to show what some of the places may look like if filled with retail.”

As the real estate agent, if you think the window wrap is a good marketing tool, then by all means go ahead and pay for it and charge the landlord / or take it out of your commission. This is a private sector activity and should be treated as such. The onus should not be on the municipal tax payer, or provincial taxpayer to fund the marketing program of private business.

Wally Keeler

Is it ok for the municipality to fund a marketing program for the municipality? Or should the Town just keep its mouth shut and simply wait like a wallflower for a suitor to solicit? Or should a municipality extol its attributes for business?

manfred s

any ‘promoting’ by the town should be an overall promotion of our lifestyle, including living standards, public assets and amenities available to everyone, economic situation, employment data, general housing info and so on. The point is, it has to be town-wide and based on PUBLIC access. The individual commercial things are, for the most part, not unique and can be left to that sector to promote in it’s own way with it’s own resources.

Denise Liboiron

Good point and well worded! So succinct I may add. Wow you have about 2000 characters left but made the point without them ~ I’m working on that : ) The money was awarded for this program ~ the time to dispute HOW the money would be applied from the grant was previously….when it was being proposed. That’s when the plans are hatched ~ so maybe get involved and help with better ideas.

manfred s

sometimes the public’s critique can only be done AFTER the details become public and that’s almost always after the deal is done. Admittedly, folks don’t care much or get involved in the development stages for various and often fair reasons but once the info gets out, they soon ‘react’ with their opinions. This, as you say, is usually too late to the party, but nevertheless, needs to be part of the overall process, if it is to be successful in the end.

Denise Liboiron

Re: paying for it. I have done similar & spent lots on signage & print & social media & marketing as well as many hours. I’ve paid lots + volunteer hours to help promote ALL the downtown shops (not just for my listings.) I frequent & refer & bring clientele there to eat drink, shop & be merry. Do you? I buy lots of gifts Downtown too & encourage growth & investment always in my discussions -not just for my listings to sell (which once they do, btw, the money & time spent will never be covered by any small commission for same) but do so for the greater good. I do support the Downtown because I like the experience. I’m one who prefers a cultivated shopping experience to larger hectic options & will pay slightly more for that more hands on & curated experience to the products & services. It’s lots of work to sift through racks & racks of items in big box style shops looking for that one pearl. That’s another topic though… I appreciate our Downtown Cobourg & want it to flourish even more. I grew up here & saw lots of changes. Perspective can help… Read more »

Walter L. Luedtke

Congratulations to Carol McCann and her group in being proactive on behalf of our downtown.
Also good to see our Mayor(s), Councillors and some candidates being there to lend support.
We should remember that Cobourg is not alone in coping with the challenges to our “High Street”.
This article in Manchester Guardian speaks of similar problems ‘over there’.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/14/government-tackle-high-street-problems-shop-closures-ghost-towns

perplexed

Why don’t we just put up a Hologram Town for the Tourists
that way we could leave a perfect impression . Of course all the doors would be locked and the stores closed
then again thats not unusual .

At least they admitted the wraps are an improvement to whats really there behind them in many cases .

So when do we really fix them up ? Why are tenants & small business not willing to Risk it all by opening in Down Town Cobourg ?

Figure it out folks Thats what your there for

Tim

The Theatre of the Absurd