I would like to express my concern about the $28,000 given to both SRTA (Sooke Region Tourism Association) and the Sooke Chamber of Commerce and also for the monies for the awards night ($300) and the trip to Calgary for a course ($2,800).
I would like to, and so should council, ask to see the results of the survey asking what people like or dislike in Sooke and why or why not they shop in Sooke. Those results would show what the folks in Sooke would like to see improved. There is value in this for the council and for business.
I do not believe that these monies should be paid to either group as that would appear that council is giving moneys to private business. I believe that the role of council is to provide services and a stage where a business can develop and thrive. Ways council can do this is to provide those lovely ways and means signs a previous planner provided a template for. For $56,000, perhaps we could start with four signs in the core, a sign for John Phillips Memorial Park, indicating this is a park and some benches for folks to set and rest or contemplate. Perhaps a portion of stamped concrete or brick could be places for attractive sidewalks and the contemptible turn on Townsend could be corrected or a proper light and crosswalk in the town centre would make it easier for people to live, work and play in Sooke.
In our Saanich business, we paid our $100 business license fee for that the fire chief would inspect our premises two times a year as we were a restaurant. We had a merchant group to which we paid a sum and had meetings once every six months to decide where we would put our monies to advertise our businesses. We would never have approached city hall to subsidize us and I am quite sure we would have been thrown our on our ear and should have been.
SRTA and the chamber share members and even board members. They should become one and charge their membership accordingly to what they can afford and work together to promote and create an environment where we all like to work, live and play as this I believe will add further value to their business when folks can get around easily, prices are competitive and service is excellent.