Summerland’s economic sector, particularly the downtown core of the community, needs some attention.
Over the past few months, several retail businesses and eating establishments have closed their doors.
Downtown retail spaces remain empty, and some have been vacant for years.
While there are also success stories in our community, there is also cause for concern.
Almost a year ago, Mayor Peter Waterman announced the Mayor’s Economic Task Force, to address such issues.
The committee was formed early this year to meet with stakeholders and come up with recommendations on how Summerland can best support economic development.
The recommendations were to be presented in June, but now, three months later, the task force’s work is not yet completed.
Economic development is a complex topic and there are no easy solutions to discover. Any plans and strategies will be the result of hard work.
That said, Summerland’s downtown core needs help right now. The need is urgent and immediate.
When a local business closes its doors, customers often need to go outside the community to find the same products or services.
The result is that Summerland is developing a reputation of being a bedroom community rather than a place which offers most of what its residents need.
Some will say the community has been at this stage for years, possibly for decades.
Few if any of us would choose to define our community in this way.
If Summerland’s economic sector is to survive, let alone expand, some practical strategies are needed right now.
This is not a task which can be delayed much longer.