EDITORIAL: Business closures tough to ignore

Qualicum Beach needs to look more closely at its growth policies and history

Businesses close for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes, it has nothing to do with the product or service on offer. There are personal issues, tax issues — a host of other things that can derail a business.

So, perhaps the story on our business page today listing five Qualicum Beach/Coombs businesses closing their doors — or announcing an impending closure — is not cause for alarm. It’s possible none of them relate to the economy, or the aging population or the continuous fights over development in that community.

Then again, it would be irresponsible to ignore what might be indicators Qualicum Beach needs an influx of new people, young families that can help keep businesses afloat and provide revenue the town needs to survive.

Five businesses in the same week? Tough to ignore, one would think.

It is an issue of basic math that a community cannot survive without new people. The math is skewed, and more alarming, for Qualicum Beach, the oldest (demographically) town in the country.

The town, to its credit, is trying. It’s slow going and may not attract more than a handful of people, but the effort to create a digital-business incubator of sorts at the old train station is laudable.

And some town leaders, a few on council and others in the community, are trying to bring forward development ideas that could attract families, or people in general, to both the downtown (the Clarion) and the outskirts (Pheasant Glen).

For those who are trying to get these developments happening, people who believe these projects will create jobs and keep businesses and the town strong, it must be tiring and frustrating to constantly find themselves in a fight with those who would put gates up around the community.

Perhaps these recent business closures will provide some impetus to get things moving in Qualicum Beach. Perhaps those who say they want people living downtown, but the Clarion is too big, or they want to see new families and/or new money come into town, but Pheasant Glen is too this or that, will acknowledge that their “no” answer to all (couched in process excuses or not) could sound a death knell for what is, and can remain with some growth, one of the most beautiful and unique communities in the country.

— Editorial by John Harding

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