Now that the holiday season has arrived, hopefully most residents will stay home to do their shopping in Nelson.
I previously wrote about how the downtown core need sprucing up as some buildings have started to look a little worn out from the upgrades completed in the early 80’s. The other side of the coin is that if people do not spend money in Nelson businesses, it makes it more difficult for owners and retailers to afford to restore their downtown buildings. Many organizations are encouraging people to spend their money locally by using local money, entering contests and having holiday sales, etc.
In my previous column I commented on a concern I had about the changing facade on the old Nelson Daily News building, but now instead, I would like to commend the owners on the great work they have done to restore the old building. There are other examples as well, such as Waits News and Hipperson’s Home Hardware who have new awnings which look good. There is still a lot of work to be done to improve Baker Street, however, putting up new lighting for the holidays is a good start.
My point is, that if the area residents shop locally instead of cross border shopping, it would be a positive move while improving the local economy. The campaign to shop locally had a great start at the end of November, beginning with Black Friday where a number of businesses started local sales and contests supported by the Nelson Star and approximately 52 local businesses. It is also worth noting that there are a number of products made in Nelson and area that are unique in the Kootenays that make it worth shopping locally. The campaign to shop local is supported by the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, as well as, promoted by the Canadian Union of Public Employee (CUPE). Some people may think it is worth it to shop in the US, but if you add everything up: the time, hotel cost, fuel and border duty it isn’t such a great deal after all.
I did not understand why the federal Conservative government raised the amount of money that people could spend in 24 hours making goods purchased the US duty free. This change certainly caused an increase in cross-border shopping which does not help the Canadian communities along the border, especially now when the Canadian dollar is at par with the US dollar.
In conclusion, with Christmas around the corner, it would support the city and the local economy if Kootenay residents decided to spend their dollars here. Spending money in Nelson provides jobs and gives local business the support to kept their businesses viable and makes this a beneficial shopping season.
Finally, I would like to pass on to everyone to have a happy safe holiday, with best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Colleen and me.
Robin Cherbo is a Nelson city councillor who shares this column with his colleagues around the table