Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UVIC REPORT ON BUSINESS CLIMATE IN DOWNTOWN VICTORIA RELEASED TODAY

REPORT REVEALS CRUCIAL FLAWS IN CITY DATA MANAGEMENT AND DVBA, SAYS PAUL BROWN

November 15, 2011

Victoria Mayoral candidate Paul Brown today released a scathing new report on the City’s downtown business climate and the way the City tracks business conditions and trends.

The 221-page report was based on a detailed survey of 66 downtown business operators by three graduate students from UVic’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. Among its findings, the report says that:

· 45% rated the health of the downtown economy as either “poor” or “very poor”

· The three most critical issues facing downtown business owners are: parking restrictions and enforcement, homelessness and panhandling, increasing rents

· Asked to rate the City’s handling of these issues, 50% were unsatisfied with City parking rules and enforcement; 47% said panhandling/homeless people had a “high” or “very high” impact on their business; and 50% said increasing or already high rents were a serious problem

· Asked whether they had seriously considered moving their business out of downtown because of these issues, 17% replied “yes”

The survey was conducted over several months earlier this year. Other findings included the following (page references are indicated in boldface):


Page 9 - Business owners believe the Victoria business climate is currently weak, and weaker than in previous years.

Page 11- The City fails to gather sufficient data from its business licences to be able to track business trends and should be conducting exit surveys

to know why businesses are leaving
Page 11 - The Downtown Victoria Business Assn. needs to expand its membership, its communication methods and develop an online membership payment method
Page 36- 20% of respondents are considering moving their business out of the City of Victoria in the next three years

Page 66 - 81% of respondents are “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with street parking and enforcement policies

"From my standpoint," says Paul Brown, "the following points are obvious in the report:

· The City did a lousy job communicating to the public the changes, policies and best practices regarding parking in the downtown area

· The Downtown Victoria Business Assoc has much to improve upon in their communication with the public and their potential members

· The UVic study is much more representative of the downtown retail sector than the City’s own study

· The City has no statistical database with which to encourage retailers to locate downtown

· The retail community feels they get lousy service from the City."


The entire UVic survey has been uploaded to: http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/9/11/2092947//UVicDowntownBusinessClimateSurvey.pdf


Paul Brown is available to comment: (250) 727-8798
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