Get out and walk.
Smithers is a unique town. Even during normal times, people support local.
It’s why we have the most vibrant downtown in the North. It’s why we have so many quirky local businesses. It’s why we have so many great amenities, clubs and organizations of all kinds.
It’s why we attract and retain so many creative and energetic community-minded people.
Now, more than ever, our businesses need our support.
As we enter phase two of the “B.C. Restart Plan” there is a lot of uncertainty about what downtown is going to look like this summer.
What we do know is there are going to be a lot less tourists.
We know that the Town is looking at various ways of accommodating businesses in the core with the use of outdoor space.
We know that a long-planned replacement of landscaping features on the strip is, so far, scheduled to go ahead.
We don’t know exactly what all of this is going to entail, but we know that “restart” will not mean business as usual.
It could mean restaurant patios, and possibly retail spaces, spilling out onto the sidewalks, or, more likely, into Main Street parking spaces.
It could mean closures of Main Street to vehicle traffic, in part or in whole, on an intermittent basis both for business purposes and beautification.
It could mean motorists having to park a couple of blocks away instead of right in front of their favourite shop.
Whatever we do, we cannot let these things, or whatever happens, deter us from supporting the local economy.
In fact, we should embrace the opportunity to experiment, in the absence of outsiders, with something that should be up for consideration on a more permanent basis.
In bigger centres, pedestrian-only areas are all the rage. Why not in Smithers? Why can’t we look at it as an attraction rather than a deterrence.
At first glance, the prospect may seem inconvenient, but honestly, COVID-19 has given us all a chance to slow down a bit. What is a couple of extra minutes to run an errand or two.
The Interior News timed the walk all the way across downtown. From the Roadhouse restaurant (between Railway and Alfred Avenues at King Street) to Subway Plaza at the corner of Main Street and Hwy 16 is eight minutes at a leisurely pace. Eight minutes.
Business owners are understandably edgy in these uncertain times.
During normal times, our local businesses are the first to step up, whether its for health charities, cultural activities or hockey jerseys. Now, it’s their turn to put their hand out.
Let’s all show them we’ve got their backs.