Mayor Marc Lefebvre says he may ask council to free surplus city funds to help revitalize Parksville’s downtown.
Lefebvre was asked about downtown revitalization — a plank in his election campaign — after the most recent budget deliberations. There is no specific item addressing downtown revitalization in the current version of the budget.
The mayor said he wants to address property and business owners and Parksville Downtown Business Association members at a yet-to-be-scheduled meeting.
“Here’s what I want to say to the owners: what is it that you want to do and what is it we have to do to get the downtown revitalization re-energized, reinvigorated and going?” said Lefebvre. “If this budget is passed, I have some wriggle room if you look at the surplus I have for 2015, which is $5 million.”
At a recent budget meeting, new PDBA president Sandy Herle reminded councillors most of them had downtown revitalization as one of their campaign platform planks. PDBA securetary-treasurer Michelle Jones reiterated those thoughts this week.
“They all ran on a platform of downtown revitalization and we don’t see anything in the (2015) budget,” said Jones. “(Improvements on) Corfield Street is about it for the next 20 years. We are curious to see what they are going to do. It’s been a topic for how long, forever? We haven’t seen a lot happen in the downtown.”
Jones also expressed hope that the mayor would come to a future meeting with the property owners and the PDBA with more than questions.
“We hope the city will come to the meeting with ‘This is what we are prepared to do,’ not ‘What would you like us to do?’,” she said.
Jones said a start, and a focus of the PDBA, would be to make the downtown more pedestrian friendly.
“We have streets in the downtown that don’t have sidewalks,” she said.
• The PDBA has appointed its officers for 2015-16. They are: president Sandy Herle (Close to You Ladies Fashions and Lingerie), vice-president Melisa Beatty (Coastal Community Credit Union) and secretary-treasurer Michelle Jones (Timberlake-Jones Engineering).
Other directors elected to the PDBA Board at its recent annual general meeting are: Cindy Craig (Oceanside Stylist and Barber Shoppe), Randy Henson (Quality Foods), Kristy Lotzien (Soak Essentials Marketplace), Tony MacAulay (McLane and MacAulay Notaries Public) and Heather Taylor (Blossoms ‘n Such).
They join continuing directors: Judy Evans (Mercedes Lane), Carol Ormiston (Parksville Home Hardware), Neil Watson (HollisWealth) and Arthur Wong (The Beach Club Resort).
The PDBA administers Parksville’s downtown business improvement Area (BIA). It says its core programs include: group marketing and promotion, online business directory (www.parksvilledowntown.ca), litter and graffiti removal, street banners, façade improvement and security grants, among other initiatives.