Canada Post debate provides a good case for BIA

It’s a fait accompli now: in Little Current, the post office will remain in the big red brick building on the North Channel side of the front street as the Northeast Town and Canada Post have reached an accommodation regarding the annual lease agreement as well as other matters, including cleaning costs.

Council and its staff and Canada Post must be congratulated for reaching an agreement that ensures the post office remains downtown as an anchor institution.

An earlier commentary in this space indicated the downside of any relocation of Canada Post away from downtown Little Current: the loss of regular local visits to the front street that would certainly correspond to a decline in business, especially through the fall, winter and spring months (that comprise most of the year,) for the commercial establishments located downtown.

The Little Current Business Improvement Area (BIA) is also to be congratulated for making the issue an important one for the community and focusing the public’s attention on the negotiations and the stated fact that, should these negotiations fail, Canada Post would most certainly be relocating away from the downtown area.

In a small town, these things are important and the ability for small, independent merchants, services and eating places to survive is predicated on a number of variables but traffic past their doors is certainly at or near the top of this list.

Certainly the quality of goods and services, competitive prices and prompt and polite service are all important as well but it takes all of these indicators plus people on the sidewalk to help ensure that a business not only survives but prospers as well.

The Little Current downtown core is fortunate to have an advocacy group, like its BIA, already in place and prepared to point out these important elements of business survival to the community at large and elected officials as well.

Other Island communities might consider approaching their councils about the appropriate by-laws under which BIAs are established.

Gore Bay, for example, also had a BIA but the group disbanded about a decade ago. Mindemoya had a business association for a while, but it did not exist under the provincial regulations that set out the guidelines for Business Improvement Areas.

The profile that the Little Current BIA received during this exchange, and the fact that an already-existing group was in place to rise to the occasion of a perceived threat to the wellbeing of its members, might be a good indicator to the business communities in these other Island towns that this might be a suitable model for them to also consider adopting.