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Downtown Victoria business climate report (2011)


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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 08:42 AM

Results from a survey conducted by UVic MBA students show downtown merchants are unsatisfied with City Hall's handling of issues, and name parking enforcement, the street population, dealing with City Hall and rising lease rates as a major obstacles.

More information is contained within the following release by Paul Brown and Open Victoria.

REPORT ON BUSINESS CLIMATE IN DOWNTOWN VICTORIA RELEASED TODAY
REPORT REVEALS CRUCIAL FLAWS IN CITY DATA MANAGEMENT AND DVBA, SAYS PAUL BROWN


November 15, 2011


Victoria Mayoral candidate Paul Brown today released a scathing new report on the City’s downtown business climate and the way the City tracks business conditions and trends.

The 221-page report was based on a detailed survey of 66 downtown business operators by three graduate students from UVic’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. Among its findings, the report says that:
· 45% rated the health of the downtown economy as either “poor” or “very poor”
· The three most critical issues facing downtown business owners are: parking restrictions and enforcement, homelessness and panhandling, increasing rents
· Asked to rate the City’s handling of these issues, 50% were unsatisfied with City parking rules and enforcement; 47% said panhandling/homeless people had a “high” or “very high” impact on their business; and 50% said increasing or already high rents were a serious problem
· Asked whether they had seriously considered moving their business out of downtown because of these issues, 17% replied “yes”
The survey was conducted over several months earlier this year. Other findings included the following (page references are indicated in boldface):

Page 9 - Business owners believe the Victoria business climate is currently weak, and weaker than in previous years.

- Page 11- The City fails to gather sufficient data from its business licences to be able to track business trends and should be conducting exit surveys
to know why businesses are leaving
- Page 11 - The Downtown Victoria Business Assn. needs to expand its membership, its communication methods and develop an online membership payment method
- Page 36- 20% of respondents are considering moving their business out of the City of Victoria in the next three years

- Page 66 - 81% of respondents are “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with street parking and enforcement policies

"From my standpoint," says Paul Brown, "the following points are obvious in the report:

· The City did a lousy job communicating to the public the changes, policies and best practices regarding parking in the downtown area

· The Downtown Victoria Business Assoc has much to improve upon in their communication with the public and their potential members
· The UVic study is much more representative of the downtown retail sector than the City’s own study
· The City has no statistical database with which to encourage retailers to locate downtown
· The retail community feels they get lousy service from the City."

The entire UVic survey has been uploaded to: http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/9/11/2092947//UVicDowntownBusinessClimateSurvey.pdf



Paul Brown is available to comment: (250) 727-8798

www.paulforvictoria.ca

www.openvictoria.ca


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#2 Barrett r Blackwood

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:14 AM

Thanks for the post Mike k.
I have been wondering how the downtown businesses were doing in terms of the latest mayor and council.
I have been here all my life and have been very keen to watch the ups and downs that the downtown has gone through with the various civic governments. I think it is obvious the changes in the core from one election to the next.

#3 spanky123

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 11:08 AM

It is no suprise that business isn't impressed with City Hall. That is the reason why Rob Reid and other candidates over the years have been put forth as alternatives.

Businesses don't vote, residents do.

#4 Mike K.

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 11:30 AM

Many business owners who lease their premises, much like renters in apartments and suites, also fail to recognize that cost increases at City Hall will eventually trickle down to them. "Rising rents" are largely attributed to rising municipal costs.

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#5 Bingo

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:02 PM

A year ago prior to the referendum the city came up with all sorts of stats that said the downtown core would suffer a loss of business if the JSB was closed during refurbishment.

Now it appears that the business climate is suffering due to reasons listed in a recent survey, and in a story in todays TC. The Johnson Street Bridge is still open, so city officials can't use that excuse today.

#6 Barrett r Blackwood

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:15 PM

A year ago prior to the referendum the city came up with all sorts of stats that said the downtown core would suffer a loss of business if the JSB was closed during refurbishment.

Now it appears that the business climate is suffering due to reasons listed in a recent survey, and in a story in todays TC. The Johnson Street Bridge is still open, so city officials can't use that excuse today.

Well said Bingo- I have paid close attention to the down town over the decades and for the first time I am fearfull for the core due to the mass amount of business being done in the Western Communities etc. It is so good to see the boom out there but I dont see it down here.
( Hotel 760 - MidTown )

#7 Schnook

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:17 PM

The anecdotes from p. 39 are consistent with anecdotes from friends who still operate downtown. But they ain't seen nothing yet.

Bear in mind that people soften their message considerably when they know their comments will be documented. It is difficult to read the business pulse accurately when it is negative: entrepeneurs are reluctant to open up for sociopolitical and other reasons to do with business intelligence. The community can be very intolerant of weakness, particularly in retail. Rumors of bad sales can damage negotiations, deals and careers. A prudent operator aspires to see no evil and keeps her cards close to her chest:

In retrospect, having sales data from 2008 or 2010 for comparison would have been valuable. (p.34)

The tacit conspiracy of silence contributes to the growth of problems that manifest during times of recession.

I hope the UVic students do well. This is a great report.

 



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