We’ve lost count of the recent business closures in St. John’s, particularly the downtown area, largely due to a downturn in the economy. Templeton’s, Ballistic, Healy’s Deli, Biped Sports, and a myriad of restaurants have all shut their doors over the last year.
At this point, one would expect that the city would be doing anything possible to encourage and facilitate entrepreneurs and new businesses. Not the case.
This is another area where St. John’s consistently falls short, with hilariously poor decisions from council regarding new businesses. Time after time we see them shut down proposals on the basis of lack of parking, a business not fitting the “heritage” of the city, or some other foolish reason.
This time, they have hit a new low. A proposal to use this hard-looking, vacant commercial building on Hamilton Avenue as a one-man savoury packaging plant has been denied!
Why? Well, no other reason except for, according to councilor Jonathan Galgay, the area was “challenged” in terms of parking.
That’s right. The proposal for a one-man operation that would operate 4-12 hours per week and make use of a crappy-looking vacant building was not enough for St. John’s. Are they waiting for a business to come along that will only operate 0-2 hours per week? Who is to say this employee was even going to drive to work? Why leave the building sitting as an empty eyesore indefinitely?
The best we can gather from this proposal is that this business would not have been open to the public. This already gives it a leg up over the business who previously used this location, which also had more employees. It would be the lone employee, 4-12 hours per week, during business hours.
How can there be such a disconnect between the general public, common sense, and the council we elect to represent us? Decisions like this are mind-boggling.
There is seemingly no better use of such a building, but the city has opted to reject possible business tax revenue and force this person to go elsewhere. If they’re smart, it won’t be St. John’s.
The next municipal election is fast approaching. Let’s take the opportunity to finally elect a council with some common sense.
Hear our full discussion about this in North of Newfoundland 032.