Joining CUI host Andre Cote for our next session of Main Street Action Week: Small Business-Friendly Policy for Main Streets – are presenters John Archer, Chief Development Officer at 360 Collective and Judy Morgan, Principal at 360 Collective; Dr. Alexandra Flynn, University of British Columbia; Judy Lam, Manager of Commercial Districts and Small Business for the City of Hamilton; Chris Rickett, Director of Municipal and Stakeholder Relations at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation; and Antoinette Rodrigue, Chargée de projet, Développement et innovation, Association des sociétés de développement commercial de Montréal. This event is co-presented with 360 Collective.
Main Street Action Week: Small Business-Friendly Policy for Main Streets
A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation
1. Collaboration is essential
There is an urgent need to facilitate direct business to government contact. According to 360 Collective’s Judy Morgan, “a successful policy response needs to consider that business is a partner.” BIAs know their own needs the best. Cities must take a leadership role to enable businesses to go forward with much needed and asked for adaptations. It is important to note that the needs of small businesses are place-based. Each community has its own set of needs.
2. The pandemic pop-up
Dr. Alexandra Flynn, Assistant Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, has researched how pop-ups are created and managed. Alexandra identifies a new type, the pandemic pop-up. Relaxed patio rules and the expansion of pedestrian zones are examples of an improved decision-making process characterized by urgency. Municipalities must become more responsive to the needs of small businesses and work with them to develop fast, innovative solutions that may outlast the pandemic.
3. Do not be afraid to fail
Chris Rickett, of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, shares his experience leading the City of Toronto’s economic response to COVID. Chris highlights the need to be much more activist in rebuilding Main Street. The pandemic has brought new challenges that cities and businesses must adapt to. This requires experimentation through rapid prototyping. Chris has a message for public servants and local politicians: “Let your great staff go run free and develop cool and interesting solutions and get behind them and support them. ”
4. Consider unrepresented businesses
Flynn points out that there are a wide range of businesses in our cities not captured by BIAs. Businesses run by newcomers in dense immigrant communities are one such group. Canada’s multicultural cities require special considerations when it comes to inclusivity. John Archer, also of the 360 Collective, identifies the need to understand how businesses run by newcomers operate. Morgan reiterates that special attention needs to be paid to start-ups and businesses owned by equity seeking groups.
5. Enabling business communities to build their own resilience
COVID has hit the small business sector the hardest. Main streets were already struggling in the lead up to the pandemic. Technological advancements have changed the face of retail shifting patrons from brick and mortar shops to online stores. Municipal initiatives such as Hamilton’s Hometown Hub and Toronto’s Digital Main Street have partnered small businesses with tech savvy website developers to bring main street online. With disruptions to traditional retail, the City of Hamilton’s Judy Lam stresses that for small businesses to survive e-commerce must be on their business plan.
Note to readers: This video session was transcribed using auto-transcribing software. Manual editing was undertaken in an effort to improve readability and clarity. Questions or concerns with the transcription can be directed to email@example.com with “transcription” in the subject line.
André Côté [00:00:18] Hi, everyone, and welcome. My name is André Côté. I am the Acting Research Director with the Canadian Urban Institute and I am pleased to welcome everyone to this second event in our Main Street Action Week. As we begin, I’m going to offer a land recognition. So I am in Toronto, the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosanee and the Wendat peoples. It is now home to many diverse First Nations in U.S. and Metis peoples from across Turtle Island. We also recognise that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13, signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit and the Williams Treaty signed with multiple Anishinaabe nations. So I am grateful to live and work in this community and I’m also very mindful of the history of these these treaties and the essential continuing work of reconciliation that that I and we all have to do.
André Côté [00:02:24] So we’re excited to be here today. This is an important juncture for our Bring Back Main Streets initiative. Early in the spring, that Canadian Urban Institute embarked on the Bring Back Main Streets project. Prior to COVID, there’d been work arounds downtowns and main streets. There were many issues already impacting our main streets. Of course, as as we know, the pandemic has has changed things in dramatic ways and in some ways accelerated some of the challenges that that main streets are facing. And obviously been super challenging for for for small businesses as well, which will be a big focus of our our session today. Last week marked the launch of the Bring Back Main Streets, the Action Report, as we’re calling it. So that was that was an important milestone. We encourage you to check that out. It’s it’s a compilation of a wide range of actions, of a potential policy solution, policymakers, local business associations and a variety of stakeholders on on main streets. It was developed through CUI. But I think most importantly, through this project with a really, really broad and terrific network of collaborators, a real coalition to encourage you to check check that out. It also builds on a bunch of the work that’s been done with our research partners. Which brings us to the session today. Research partners like 360 Collective prepared Solutions Briefs, as well as a series of memos that help to tease out different aspects of the challenges on Main Street and start to get us towards potential solutions and actions. So for this session today, this is the second of our four sessions during the Bring Back Main Streets Action Week.
André Côté [00:04:18] The focus today is on small business friendly solutions for main streets. And so we know the impacts of the crisis on main streets and small businesses, particularly restaurants and local retail, have been quite well reported at this point. But I think what we wanted to do was get into what were some of the business conditions for small businesses coming into this COVID crisis. How do we understand the various types of impacts a crisis has had? And then, of course, most importantly, what are the types of policy solutions we should be considering to both sustain small businesses through the crisis, but also to support a recovery on main streets and and in our cities? So today we are focusing on the solutions brief prepared by John Archer and Judy Morgan of 360 Collective. Hi, John. Hi, Judy. So they are one of CUI’s great research partners on this Bring Back Main Street’s initiative. 360 is a Toronto based firm that brings together retail strategists, urban planners, marketing researchers to focus this this mix of expertise on on both traditional and non-traditional retail sectors, on communities development and real estate in cities. I’m sure John and Judy will have a little bit more to say about what they do. I would just say they both bring immense expertise on this topic of main street small business and and also about what what makes local economies tick. So what will benefit greatly from having them. So they will kick things off today with a fifteen minute presentation about their solutions brief. I’ll drop the link to it in the in the chat as well in a second is that people can take a look. After that, we will bring in a great set of panellists to share their perspectives and to respond and reflect on on 360’s presentation. So I’ll quickly introduce them now and then and then we can have each of them introduce themselves a little bit later in the session. So first we have Dr. Alexandra Flynn from University of British Columbia. She is at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, and her work focuses on law, governance and the city. And so we’ll let her unpack that a little bit. We have Judy Lam from the City of Hamilton. Hi, Judy. The other, Judy, Judy L. for our purposes today. So she is the lead on urban renewal and regeneration in downtown BIA and commercial corridors in Hamilton. So obviously brings a key perspective to our discussion today. We have Chris Rickett with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation of Ontario and also who was recently on assignment leading a team at the City of Toronto in their COVID-19 business mitigation recovery effort. So so right at the heart of it with the City of Toronto. And last but not least, we have Antoinette Rodrigue with the Association des sociétés de développement commercial de Montréal. So they represent 20 local local improvement associations and Montreal. They represent twelve thousand five hundred businesses. And so obviously have a great vantage point on how things are unfolding and the actions being taken in Montréal. So with that, I will turn it over to John and Judy to kick us off with the presentation and I’ll just ask that are our panellists this will all just mute ourselves and turn off our cameras just until the end of the presentation. So thank you. And over to you, John and Judy.
Judy Morgan [00:08:03] Thank you. Thank you very much, André. That’s great. It was our, your great pleasure to be asked to write a solution brief on business friendly policy that responds to COVID-19. Is a highlight in my career, certainly to work with such a diverse group, often of talented people from across the country. It really has been quite a remarkable project in reflecting our collaborative working style. I’m going to first turn to my colleague John Archer, to introduce you to the 360 Collective. John. You’re you’re on mute.
John Archer [00:08:47] Oh, yeah. I’ll echo exactly what Judy just said. And André. Very honoured to be here today to share with you some of the solution briefs that we’ve come through and working with the Canadian Urban Institute on their great project on Bring Back Main Streets. I think it’s a good part of six months we’ve been meeting and chatting and working through different kind of think tank type issues. And so it’s been great that way. Yeah, a little bit of a 360 we’ve been working across North America, especially in main streets and small retail kind of environments, and bring our perspective in terms of what’s happening here in terms of COVID response and and how things are accelerating in terms of key trends across retail and main streets. We do trade. Take a very broad based approach. Our definition of retail includes retail and food services and entertainments and recreation services, is very broad. And the other key aspect in terms of our work is, is a very holistic approach. We’re definitely looking at things from the business perspective and profitability. But we also very keenly aware of municipal economic development in terms of providing goods and services for local residents is is extremely important. Ideas around city building and walkability and vitality of commercial streets is is really important. And lastly, the idea of flexibility and adaptability of our main streets and our businesses so that they can continue to be the lifeblood and community assets that we have known them to be. I’m going to turn it back over to Judy and she’s going to walk you through some of the kind of key findings and solution briefs. And then, as André said, then we’ll open up to the broader panellists and have a really hopefully robust conversation.
Judy Morgan [00:10:47] Thanks John. So first, we wanted to give you a brief overview of the solution brief itself. The Canadian Urban Institute asked us to summarise our experience, as to the impact COVID-19 was having on the underlying conditions and issues on Main Street. And to suggest policy directions that governments could pursue to support their sustainability and recovery. And the audience the solution brief is targeted at really is policymakers at all orders of government, so very broad. We were asked to address these five issues and all of them are also very broad and quite complex topics. So the solution brief really skims the surface of these issues and in many respects. And but I think our goal was to provide some general guidance for into areas that people can do deep drills down into. So in total, we recommended 13 policy directions. And the full solution brief your L is there for future reference. So, John, next slide. We couldn’t possibly cover everything in the solution brief within the 15 minutes we have with you today. So therefore, we decided to focus on policies targeted at addressing COVID-19 impact on three of the requirements for business success. And those are being able to keep costs down with revenues, having access to cash flow to cover the costs that must be paid before revenues are received and being able to operate within an efficient regulatory framework. Next slide. So in terms of balancing costs and revenues, COVID-19 has is an understatement to say that COVID-19 has dramatically decreased revenues for many main street businesses, leaving them to cope with fixed costs. Two major categories that we’re going to talk about our rent and property tax, which have presented major affordability issues. And so those are going to be in discussed in the next two sections of the presentation. In terms of access to cash flow, businesses typically have small businesses typically have quite limited cash reserves. In April 2020 survey, for example, half of the small businesses that responded said they couldn’t survive for longer than three months. However, conventional lenders typically consider the sector high risk. And they’re even more, even more so now with COVID-19. So we’ve talked about a few policies to support business in accessing finance in section four of the presentation. And then the last one is that COVID-19 has added a rapidly changing layer to an already complicated regulatory framework, and policies to help businesses navigate are summarised in section five of the presentation. So next slide, in terms of rent and landlord relations, slide, we’re highlighting two really major issues. The first is that previously agreed to rents are no longer affordable, and the federal, many provincial governments have been trying to support businesses saleability by CECRA and the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program that was announced last week. In addition, some provinces have put temporary moratoriums on evictions. The second issue predates the pandemic, but it has been made more urgent by it. We found in some research we did last year that many small businesses enter into leases without fully understanding the terms of commercial leases or also hiring lawyers to help them. They don’t realise that they have very limited protection outside of the terms of the lease. And so we suggest that governments step in by offering business support programs that stress the importance of understanding leases and what education to help them do about it, to help them understand what they’re getting into, so to speak, and what they can ask for and what they can’t. Also, to reduce the barriers of seeking professional support, we suggest that they facilitate, governments facilitate access to legal assistance and subsidise the cost of that. And then again, there’s more detailed strategies provided in the solution brief itself. Next slide. However, despite best efforts, we expect that Main Street vacancy will increase. Strategies that business associations can use were discussed at yesterday’s webinar. Very interesting discussion, which I know is still available online on the Bring Back Main Street site. Governance can facilitate by ensuring that the policy context is supportive. For example, by reviewing how vacant floor space is treated by tax policy and whether adjustments can be made to incentify landlords to permit non-profit or start-ups to use the space instead of keeping it vacant. And John has a few examples of some of these other strategies.
John Archer [00:15:58] Yeah, I mean, definitely some, you know, some good stories of the last six, seven, eight months in terms of some innovation and different things happening in terms of, you know, stopping the bleed, but also kind of forward thinking in terms of forward opportunities for Main Streets. We’ve seen there was an article about a theatre group taking over, I think, seven vacant storefronts on a main street and doing sort of an interactive theatre presence where people are on the street and watch their theatre move forward. Definitely how a lot of many streets have invested in businesses, invested in a lot of pop up, and those resources are great now that we see a lot more pop ups coming. And then on the recruitment side or in kind of the retention side, there was a great article a couple months ago here in Toronto. There was a butcher and a fresh fruit and vegetable market place, and they were both kind of not doing great sales and stuff. And so they agreed to form together and cooperate in terms of leasing one space together and having both of the operators operate together out of that one space. So that kind of thinking, that kind of coming together really saved two businesses, which otherwise they might have just kind of failed and and gone to the wayside. So that kind of co-operative enabling type kind of ideas are really important going forward.
Judy Morgan [00:17:28] Great. We should also explore, however, a more creative and call it unconventional approaches to land and property management to help sustain strong small businesses on Main Streets and reduce vacancy. There are a few examples in the solution brief and action report. I really liked one in the action report, one called more than the pub, more than a pub program in the UK, which sounded very intriguing. Also, we shouldn’t forget the governments themselves are major property owners. We can support Main Street recovery by locating community facilities in main streets and designing them in a way that animates the street. Next slide John. So in terms of property tax affordability, it is a major fixed costs for businesses. Many municipalities have responded by deferring payment due dates and leaving penalties and interest charges. But here in the fall, we’re finding that regions of the country are, as are the pandemic, still significant and business activity is still limited. So continued consideration may be necessary in those regions, notwithstanding the revenue crunch that local governments are experiencing by now. A pre-existing issue that was greatly exacerbated by the pandemic is the impact of current value assessments in areas where property values are volatile. Businesses may be faced with sudden and unexpected increases in property tax that are related to the changing market value of the property they occupy, not to the profitability of their particular businesses. We should anticipate the impact the COVID-19 may have on the 2020 and 2021 assessments and the consequent impact on property tax levels for Main Street businesses and where affordability is likely to be a problem. And I expect there’ll be a really wide variation across the country. A combination of provincial and local government action may be needed to mitigate the impact. More details provided in the solution brief, my recurrent theme. In terms of access to financing. Next slide, John. Government loan and grant programs have greatly assisted businesses bridged the gap between reduced revenues and fixed costs. Many local governments have assisted in helping businesses figure out their eligibility for the different programs and navigate the application process. Ongoing support will be needed in the view of the resurgence of the pandemic in some regions, and it was great to see last week’s announcements to that effect. Conventional financial institutions have been reluctant to lend the small business sector, seeing them as high risk. And this is even more so since the pandemic government loan guarantee programs have helped. But we may need to look at how to facilitate more community based financial models. Vancity for example, is an example of a community based credit union that’s doing some really important work. Philanthropic foundations are another route. For example, there is a Black opportunity fund that was started in June of this year with the support of the Toronto Foundation. But more avenues like that I think are needed in Canada. Next slide. So last but not least, is the regulatory framework. The first issue, small businesses are small, and I think that’s something we often forget in government. They don’t have the staff resources to keep up to date and navigate the fast changing spectrum of COVID related regulations and support programs. John’s got a couple of examples of that.
John Archer [00:21:07] Yeah, in terms of when we’re always looking for new businesses opportunities as well, and so on our previous research, we had looked at businesses with less than five employees and saw that they were decreasing and that the way businesses come forward has changed a lot. And so definitely you have areas where there’s higher percentage of newcomers. And that’s the way forward for businesses. And just trying to find the way forward is difficult and their access to financing is it is difficult. So the communication and understanding how these small businesses, especially newcomers, operate is vitally important to our main streets and making sure that they’re not left falling through the cracks in terms of our programs and the government programs that are coming up with.
Judy Morgan [00:22:04] Perfect. And then a second major issue is that without is that being safe brings with it some new requirements and costs for already cash strapped businesses. Governments can help by facilitating access to suppliers and supplies and providing financial support. An interesting nuance is the impact on increasing garbage volumes. All of the disposable masks and so forth them and we can no longer use reusable containers. All of that is increasing garbage volumes. Governments may want to consider providing some relief by temporarily, temporarily reducing waste collection fees, as well as reducing fees for some other small business permits and licences to help out in the short term while businesses are coping with all of this. So in terms of key messages, our overriding key message is that a successful policy response needs to consider that business is a partner. So how we do that is not just not just having a public meeting or something that we really need to listen to businesses. We need to discuss the issues they’re having and brainstorm possible solutions before we before we frame policies. We need to once a policy is finalised, we need to communicate it both broadly and deeply to ensure that the individual businesses know about it and understand how it impacts them. Strengthening business networks such as BIAs, FDCs, Chambers of Commerce, et cetera, help policymakers connect with the individuals. And it’s so deeply important. The municipalities that have concentrated on on helping support strong business improvement areas and bids and so forth have really, they’ve been invaluable through this pandemic. And more of that is some more of that work is really important to do. We need to remember to pay extra attention to business start-ups and businesses that are owned by equity seeking groups. These we often just look at the total take-up of programs. We should ensure that they we’re also reaching the businesses with special needs, let’s call it. We should ensure that we involve them in our discussions and and outreach. And we should monitor the participation and program. And we should remember to offer one to one assistance and support whenever possible to help businesses understand the regulations and interpret them to their own individual situations. So thank you. In terms of last slide, that was definitely a whirlwind overview of the solution brief. And we look forward to the panel’s discussion and reaction to that. So over to you, André.
André Côté [00:25:01] OK. That is awesome. Thank you. Judy and John, for a lightning a lightning presentation. I know that was tough because it was so there was so much in there. But you gave us the high level goals notes and enough to to dig into for sure. So with that, I will ask our other panellists to turn on their cameras and unmute their mics. Hello. Welcome. And so what we’re gonna do now is offer each of you three to five minutes to offer your sort of rapid fire reflections on the 360 presentation, but also to share your perspectives on on small business friendly policies for Main Streets in general. And and I think what you’re seeing in your communities as well. And then from there, we’ll open things up to questions and discussion among us. And I’ll try and bring in questions from from the chat as well. So maybe to kick things off, we can we can go from east to west. So, Antoinette, can I can I ask you to, to start things off.
Antoinette Rodrigue [00:26:08] Yes, sure. So I think really the key of the presentation that was made with the presentation that we’ve just had is that collaboration for us was really the key point of the success that we encountered this summer in Montreal, because, yes, the situation was not easy. And it’s still not easy because we’re still confined and everything. But I really think that collaboration with the City of Montreal and with the SDC and les association des SDC de Montréal really made it easier for for businesses from one part is that the city was really, really helpful with making everything easier for businesses, whether it was to get like permits for the public domain occupation for terraces during summer or even to make some streets pedestrian for the summer. So this was really helpful just to bring people outside and to get people into the streets where consumers maybe were afraid or maybe they didn’t want to go out or make like everything was so uncertain. So it was really to bring people out there and to help businesses to make it better for consumers to be there, like beautification and pedestrian streets and bike lanes were added to get people from point A to point B. So this city was like Montreal, Montrealers really took the city for themselves over the summer, which was really good. So this was a part of it from the city. Also, they deferred the payments of taxes that was really good for businesses for the cash flow. So and everything with the subsidies was really helpful just to get businesses afloat for the summer. And now I would say that the part of the as they say, the Montreal, so the BIBs, was really to get the information to the businesses because it’s always the same thing. You know, like programs are there, as sometimes they are not well understood from businesses. So the goal is to get these programs to the businesses. So that’s where the as this in Montreal took place this summer. So I think the goal that we had was to communicate clearly what was offered to the businesses to help them over this summer. There was also really helpful, helpful from the city that every streets that were pedestrian this summer was kind of studied. So they hired an independent firm just to get studies on the streets. Was the the pedestrian streets good for businesses? Was it appreciated from people that were walking there? So it was really helpful just to have a clear understanding of whether it was good or bad to have pedestrian streets. So and it was good. So we’re happy about this. And now from now on, I think really communication will still be the key. And we will have, like, our our what we have to face over the next months is winter. So that’s where maybe it’s going to hurt. But I think from the experience that we had over the summer with the with people in the streets, I think we want to recreate like of like happenings in the public domain for the winter. So let’s see how it will go. But I think the City has helped us a lot.
André Côté [00:29:40] OK, that’s terrific. So collaboration and communication, this is the key, I think, to to tease out the key points. Why don’t we move down the Fleuve Saint-Laurent to to Chris who I’m not sure where exactly your base. I know that the MPAC head office is in Pickering?
Chris Rickett [00:30:02] In Toronto. It’s OK. Toronto resident for sure. Thanks for the opportunity and and definitely internet in the collaboration side, I think. What we really saw in this crisis was everyone come together in the community and the public and private sectors to to really develop and implement solutions. As mentioned, I work with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation here in Ontario, but was seconded back to the City of Toronto for the last six months to lead the City’s economic response to COVID. And of course, a lot of that was focused on Main Street and small businesses right out of the gate. Well, back in March and April, you know, this city with its 83 BIA is a real recognition of, you know, what really makes our communities tick. And in the backbone of our neighbourhoods are our main streets. And and that, you know, what makes city life so great is really that quality of life that we get from our main streets. It’s it’s it’s the restaurants. It’s the arts. It’s the culture. It’s the interactions with your neighbours. And I think there was a you know, we all felt right away that, well, we could come out of this and that could be lost. And so are a lot of our initial focus was on how do we retain and support Main Street. It’s a key ingredient to the quality of life, of why we enjoy our lives in the city. And that’s a key selling point of what we do to try to attract investment to the city. And so if we lose that, we’re in a big we’re in it, we’re in big trouble. And so, you know, some of the things that we rolled out right away, similar to our colleagues across the country, was, you know, right off the bat that one on one support. We set up a call centre in like 10 days to provide that one on one support for small businesses across the city. You know, rejigged all our resources within economic development and help people fill out their funding applications. And that evolved over time, of course, as we started reopening, then educating one on one on what they had to do to reopen the restaurant. And that’s infrastructure that ultimately will stay in place now to support entrepreneurs, you know, through the rest of the pandemic. But, of course, hopefully beyond as well. We also really focused on digitisation of Main Street businesses. When I previously was with the City of Toronto, we developed a program called Digital Main Street, which was really focused on helping Main Street businesses embrace technology and transform their operations that way. And of course, that program is now grown across Canada, but started as a back in 2016 with my team here in the city. And so we were already kind of ahead. We had that infrastructure and we ramped that infrastructure up as well. So, again, we set up a call centre that was focused on helping businesses, you know, get selling online right away and grew some new programs out of that. One of the programs. I think that really highlighted the collaboration side was a program we launched called Shop Here, which is now, again, available across Canada. But we developed it in Toronto, initially took us about a was about a week. But we know we had Google, we had Shopify and we had, you know, a few of our universities around the table. We said this is what we want to do. We want to just like help people. We’re going to build online stores for Main Street businesses for free and help them launch them. And we want to build 3000 stores by the end of August. And, you know, we we put the call out to the tech community. Google and Shopify came in and wrote big cheques to make it happen. We put a call out to the tech community, say we need volunteer web developers. We had over a thousand Web developers volunteer to build websites. We hired a few hundred students through Schulich, and they were then helping businesses onboard those websites. And everybody just did it right away. Like, I know I sent a text message to my contact at Shopify and I said, I need some money to do this. And via text got back within a few minutes that we’re in. And it was this great sense of purpose that we all had to support Main Street in that sense of collaboration. And, you know, that was pretty amazing to see. And it was great to see as we kind of came through and sort of reopening and we launch things like Cafe TO to open up the streets for cafes and we closed streets for for people to get out and get active. And, you know, these are things that typically, you know, any other time would be a you know, we didn’t need it. We need bunch of studies and we’d have big crazy debates at council. And, you know, just like, yes, yes, do it, do it. And it was you know, it was great to just see those things happening and it totally transformed the city. This summer, we may be paying for a little bit now with the second wave. But but ultimately, you know, I think these are innovations and things that happened around making things happen in our communities and our main streets that ultimately, you know, should outlive the pandemic and showed us what is possible in our communities. And I think, you know, as we start to look forward to a lot of the great stuff that you’ve highlighted in your report is how we’re gonna meet need to be a much more activist on rebuilding Main Street coming out of the pandemic and and really understanding that, yes, you know, we need to make sure we have civic investments and we want to encourage more people living in our cause and all along our main streets. But we’re going to take a big, much, much more community economic development mindset to rebuilding Main Street. So really understanding what are the gaps, doing that market research, building those business models so it’s easy to open up a greengrocer or whatever those types of gaps might be, and then working actively to recruit entrepreneurs in that neighbourhood to fill those gaps and then providing them, you know, grants to get up and started. And so I think that’s gonna be a big change, especially in a place like Toronto, which hasn’t really been active in that community economic development space. But that’ll be a big shift that’s going to be required to really rebuild our main streets and and really rethink about how we bring that vitality back and ensure at the same time that we’re rebuilding back better and we’re building in resilience. Because I think what we all saw was Main Street. We all knew Main Street was suffering, but we just saw, like, you shut off revenue for a week or two. It’s gone. And so we really need to rethink that resilience and really build those local connections between people and their main streets and their neighbourhoods to show that they support them and that they now realise that they’re supporting their neighbours when they’re supporting their main streets. So, you know, I think the report has really laid out the importance of what we need to do from a response perspective. But ultimately, what’s the foundation of how we rebuild and how do we rebuild and build that resilience back into Main Street, longer term to great work.
André Côté [00:36:38] That’s awesome. Thanks.
Chris Rickett [00:36:39] Sorry, I talk too much.
André Côté [00:36:40] I love. No, no, that’s great. Firstly, I mean, I think much, much to be applauded in terms of a bunch of those innovations, and that’s gone up quickly. And I think I love that idea of the activist approach to the rebuild and some of those ideas. I also love the idea of sending someone a text message and then sending me money back. So maybe you can teach us teach us about that.
Chris Rickett [00:37:01] I just want to be first off clear that I didn’t get money back via text message. I just got an agreement. And, you know, the City invoiced in all that kind of stuff, just to be clear on them.
André Côté [00:37:09] Shouldn’t you shouldn’t. You should sell the story. No.
Chris Rickett [00:37:13] A proposal via text message.
André Côté [00:37:14] About more, I’m sure. OK, let’s let’s turn to to Judy Lam to give us her perspective and talk a little bit about how things are going in Hamilton.
Judy Lam [00:37:25] Thank you. And I agree with the report and I agree with what the panellists have said. So I think what the pandemic has done is we knew that small business would be the hit is the hardest hit sector. So reducing costs for them, having, teaching them or allowing them to try to increase their revenue, but providing the information because everything was changing so fast. So what we found early on was how do we help them maintain some of their revenue when all the businesses were shut down and no, everyone was staying at home. So we introduce Hometown Hub and created that website so that even if a business didn’t have a website, they could sign on right away, get their business listed and allow for gift cards to be sold online. And that was a way where we could support them. The other part was working with our chambers of commerce to get the information out. So developing a business continuity COVID site so that the latest information, all the programs that were being released was in one spot that they could help out. The in terms of our City also deferred property taxes and waived interest for a while. And that helps them retains in the costs. That big, one of the big things we also did was the outdoor dining districts, similar to Toronto. Usually, as you said, that collaboration that was needed among different levels of government was absolute. And really, I’ve never seen governments work so fast, really. What do you take with local, provincial, federal and as example, outdoor dining districts, we got moving very quickly on that. The active reserve paid for all the fees so that we could wave all the costs to the businesses. And I would say, you know, with the provincial with the Alcohol Gaming Commission, letting the cities decide meant that we could, you know, allow liquor to be served on patios and among different departments. They work together to approve applications and on average, forty eight hours, which you know usually that would take months and months. So we have over 160 that applied and was approved. And now as of today, I think within an hour ago of at council, we realised that we’re entering the winter season and that businesses are still needing some assistance. So the by-law has been extended till October 2021 to help keep that revenue going. So that was just approved today. I hope it was going on while I was on this Zoom webinar and, you know, the digital main street. So I think of this as retail has been already impacted from the last few years and and the disruption to retail. And so helping those businesses survive and then thinking about the future means e-commerce has to be on their business plan. And so with the Hamilton Business Centre, with working with Digital Main Street, with the shop here that Chris is talking about and the new version. And so we’ve helped, I think, only second to Toronto with our 13 business improvement areas, work with all these businesses to try to get them up to, you know, what they need to do to survive the future. And whether that’s and we’ve relaxed our, you know, the commercial loading zones because now people are ordering in. They need to pick up through UberEats, SkipTheDishes. So the ability we waived parking fees downtown for a long time so that, you know, patrons can go downtown and buy food from the restaurants. And so, you know, there was a lot that I think the city did to try to think, what can we do to help the small businesses? In terms of Hamilton Business Centre, they were operating during the whole pandemic. They’ve had to resort to one on one Zoom webinars, and we’re still consulting with them and waived fees for starting small business seminars. And so they you know, we’ve we’ve been able to do that. And then with our talk about special needs groups, you know that the immigrants and newcomers, you do recognise that they have more challenges than even the regular businesses, whether it’s language or access to financing. So we have within economic development, the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, which we acronym is HIPC and their total task is to work with newcomers and help them adjust in their new country. And so I think what we’re trying to do is work around all groups to end our side grants. And actually right now we have a community improvement plan where we’re now revising and will introduce a new one by next spring. And we’re going to keep in mind all the recommendations that came out of that will be coming out in November from the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Recovery. And so we’ll listen to the small business recommendations. It was a special group for small business and listen to what they say they need. And the collaboration is key. We’ve been having weekly meetings where there are business improvement areas because they they are on top of what their businesses need and we really value their input. So I’ll just stop there and I guess one big key that I think will help downtown is we have to make sure the residents are located in our downtown so they keep shopping and frequent our restaurants. And so part of our incentives has been encouraging the construction of all condos and apartments in in the downtown area. Thank you.
André Côté [00:43:45] That’s great. Thanks, Judy. I would say I had the pleasure of visiting one of the outdoor dining districts this summer, and it was it was perfect. I think also you mentioned this special needs group, which I think is in the local business community, which is important, something that John and Judy highlighted in their in their report as well. OK. So we will turn to Alex out in Vancouver. So a slightly different perspective on this. So curious to hear to hear your take, Alex.
Dr. Alexandra Flynn [00:44:17] Yeah. So it’s such a pleasure to be here and to be here with this with this really knowledgeable group of people. So I’m just gonna echo what many of you have already said, that that the COVID-19 pandemic has clarified that that Main Street and small businesses are a fundamental part of our vibrant communities. You know, I think one thing that we can all agree on is that throughout the pandemic, we’ve become a lot more local. So are our neighbourhoods and our streets and our neighbours are probably something that we’re paying a lot more attention to. And so remembering that small businesses are a key element of our communities, not just because of the the, you know, essential services that they provide, but also because the people who work there, the people who lead them, are our neighbours and our community members. And I think the conversation today is really fundamental in thinking about how we’re managing COVID risks. So these are, you know, physical risks, like making sure that there’s physical distancing and opportunities for people to access business services in a safe way, but also mental health and the effect of unemployment and business shuttering. And, you know, having main streets that have businesses closing and what that does to our communities more broadly. So it’s a really essential conversation. And I applaud picking up on experiences across Canada because learning from what is happening in different jurisdictions is a kind of policy transfer or idea generation that that I think can have really meaningful impacts on on what happens next. So in my work, I talk a lot about pop ups, you know, how are pop ups created? How are they managed by cities? But I think we’re talking about a really neat kind of pop up, which is the pandemic pop up. And what’s happening is we’re seeing a different kind of decision making. So many of the folks who’ve already commented have talked about how cities have changed, how they how they’ve been working, maybe relaxing some rules, getting new and in some ways really necessary changes to the regulatory frameworks, changes that BIAs and other small businesses have been asking for for a really long time. And so some of these changes won’t just stay through the pandemic period, but are going to be long lasting because we’re seeing how how much better decisions can be made when they’re faster and more nimble and more responsive to needs that are on the ground. And that’s really important. But I think just one thing to to add to this idea of pandemic pop ups is that we can’t lose sight of inclusivity. And so part of that inclusivity is business inclusivity. So, Judy, for example, you know highlighted newcomers operating small businesses and how we really can’t lose sight of those those particular needs. But there’s a wide range of businesses in our cities that aren’t always captured by BIAs. For example in Toronto, we have I thought it was eighty two, but I guess eighty three BIAs that exist. But there’s lots of other businesses that exist in equally dense areas that don’t have BIAs. Who are able to represent those interests. And so we really have to pay attention to, you know, not just the store friends, not just the hipster BIA that are in, you know, Queen West, but also the local businesses that are operating in Rexdale and other communities that are just as important as the ones that are in our local neighbourhoods that we care about. The same time, there’s another kind of inclusivity that I think is important to inter interject, which is the fact that we need community inclusivity. So we have a wide range of vulnerable and racialized community members in our cities and and and in thinking about business transformation and aid to businesses, not losing sight of the fact that this can have these changes can have effect on, you know, policing or whether or not we think that people are customers or what have you and what effects that might have on on those folks. So I just want to talk super briefly about the kinds of changes that I’ve seen in terms of pop ups in Vancouver and then some ideas just to put on the table for the next wave of our discussion. So in Vancouver, we see pandemic pop ups that are geared to individual small businesses. So these are things like helping with with aid for businesses to make sure that they can access funding, property taxes, et cetera. But there’s also a series of initiatives that are aimed at main streets more generally, mostly in terms of infrastructure. So relaxing rules around patios, shifting spaces to widening pedestrian zones and bike lanes and enabling, you know, kind of more policy oriented decision making like like drinking in parks and kind of widening space that then businesses can jump in and operate within those public spaces. And then there’s changes that are more community focused, which might not seem like their small business targeted, but actually do enable small businesses to come to the table. And these are the hubs, right, like the on the main streets having or just off of the main streets, having sets of tables set up where people can congregate outside in a safe way with heat lamps, et cetera, or in the Downtown Eastside having spaces that are set up to provide community services, but also allow for a much needed business services to reach those communities. So there’s a wide range of ways that cities can intervene. And that’s the first part, I guess, of what I want to leave leave you with is this idea that cities really need to be the leaders. They need to be the, in my view, the the place that is enabling nimble decision making. And so really a plea for cities not to curb their responsibility in serving as leaders in addressing the needs of small businesses in the broadest sense. The second is that in thinking about what needs to be done, of course, there’s really important short term issues, but also thinking about recovery in the long run. So, you know, we need to think of heat lamps. We need to think of the winter, but also the spring and the summer and what’s going to be coming next and and seeing our community businesses as essential community members that will need help in the long run. The third is partnership. So we’ve heard about tech, the tech industry and how they can be helpful. I think thinking outside the box in terms of partnerships that are possible is really important, including community partners and First Nations who have a lot of experience navigating bureaucracy and needing to deal with tons of regulation and and universities. So how can university legal clinics help small businesses during this time. And then finally, really just coming back to what I said at the very beginning, which is that we’re talking about place based needs. And so each community is going to have its own set of needs. And so not to have a one size fits all approach, but really be thinking about, you know, and really talking to the businesses that are and the community members that are within localised areas.
André Côté [00:52:10] OK, that’s great. Thanks. Thanks, Alex. So that is a great list. I also love that it’s that it’s forward looking. We one of the challenges of running these webinars with such a great panel and with a robust report is that you very quickly run out of time. So we have about 10 minutes left. Just less than 10 minutes left. So, Alex, you highlighted four forward looking things. Cities need to be leaders. We need to be thinking about the short term and long term recovery. We need to be thinking about partnerships and the kind of unique place based aspect of it for various cities and communities across the country. What I was going to do is turn to each of the panellists and to John and Judy for kind of a lightning round. What what is what is the one one thing that needs to happen is as we look forward in terms of supporting small businesses on main streets, and it can be either the very immediate in the short term or something over the longer horizon. And I I would before that. I would just to apologise to the folks in the chat. I’ve been scanning everything. A bunch of great comments. Panellists, while you have a second, some of them are directed to you so you can you can jump in and answer questions there as well. But so why don’t we go back to Antoinette in Montreal it to kick it off. One to two.
Antoinette Rodrigue [00:53:29] Again. I’m always the lucky one. First, I would say for the months to come and for the years to come, what we need for small retailers or small stores, it’s really to provide them with great tools to build their own resilience. And because there are a lot of great stores there, whether it’s, as Alex was saying, like stores that are really like the cool ones or the hip ones, and there are also stores that doesn’t look that cool, but at the same time to have a really important role in community. And I think it’s really to it to provide tools to give them resilience for to to thrive over time. And I think the city has been already doing a great job with them. Let’s say putting up some pilot projects for, let’s say, local deliveries that are made on bikes so that local stores could actually deliver very fast, like within two or three hours. And let’s say a book or whatever that they had to sell. So it was really do if you if you cannot go to the store to store, would come to you. So this was really, really helpful for local stores. And it’s only one example of the resilience that they can actually build for themselves. But I think this one was a really good one. And also, it’s pushing them to go online. So everything but sometimes, like a presence online can be really, really small. It’s really for your own set of customers that are really local and to, but it’s only if customers won’t come to you, you will have to go to them. So it’s really, I think, what will we will have to push. And it’s also like, let’s be honest, we have we’re facing a lot of concurrence. So, like from Amazon. And so it’s really, really hard for even small stores at the moment people are just turning online. And even if it’s at the beginning, we were really turning into local stores and now we’re facing Amazon. So we have to give them really the resilience to maximise their operations.
André Côté [00:55:37] OK, that’s perfect. So tools to build resilience, including around e-commerce. Chris, over to you.
Chris Rickett [00:55:43] Yeah, I think just building on that, you know, the technology for small businesses, you know, typically, you know, we’ve heard don’t try to compete with Amazon. But I think, you know, we’re at a point now where technology is so low cost and so easy to work with, that mainstream businesses can embrace technology and can compete. And ultimately, you know, whether we’re in a pandemic or not, it’s about removing that friction between you and your and your customers. So the idea that, like, I live on St. Clair and Dufferin, so I’ve got a great main street, but I want to buy down the street, but I like to go into the website first, see if it’s there, and then I can walk over there and pick it up. Right. And the technology is there and it’s low cost and it’s accessible. And we’ve seen that through launching shop here is that, you know, you took people who had like very low, you know, digital literacy and they were launching e-commerce stores. And once they started playing with it, they realised how easy it was. That these are smart people, but they just need a little bit of coaching. And they’re like, oh, OK. Well, this is this is actually pretty easy to do. And then I think bigger picture beyond that digital transformation work that, you know, Digital Main Street and Shop Here have been kind of so integral around. That is, you know, Alexandra’s point around leadership of cities like going back to the city for for six months, you know? Well, it was the scariest time as a public servant. It was also like the most exciting time because we were just doing whatever. We were launching programs in a week. We’d have a crazy idea. It’s like, let’s do it. And we’d roll it out. And sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. We’re just like, oh, let’s change it. Let’s do this. And so, you know, we need, nobody really knows where this is going. Right. We’re we’re we’re still very unsure what the future looks like. And so, you know, policymakers and public servants are going to have to just try things. And if you’re scared to try things, you’re gonna be paralysed and things are going to fall apart. So we’ve got to be rapidly prototyping, trying new things. If it doesn’t work, cool, throw it out. But just keep trying to build on those ideas. And cities are best placed to do that. And so, you know, to my my public servants and to local politicians is let your great staff go run free and develop cool and interesting solutions, and get behind them and support them. Especially when they fail, support them and recognise that everything doesn’t always work out. But, you know, we need to try new things in this new world that we really don’t know where it’s going.
André Côté [00:58:09] OK. I love that inspiring. Judy, Judy L. One one quick thing for 30 seconds to a minute.
Judy Lam [00:58:17] OK. So I think we’re going to keep trying new things, just like what Chris said. We’re thinking how we helped them survive long term. And that is digital. And that’s also coming up with ideas how they can fill so I don’t have of boarded up storefronts in our downtown. We’re going to do everything we can. I’m going to think of a new facade grants within our CIP. We have some ideas. And so we I think best is keep liason with all our small businesses and our Hamilton Business Centre is key in giving them the tools to succeed.
André Côté [00:58:57] OK. Excellent. And last word to you, Johnathan and Judy.
Judy Morgan [00:59:02] I guess building on on what Chris and Judy were saying is, that what everyone was saying is, I hope we we remember the lessons we’ve learnt and don’t go back to grinding bureaucracy. I think the I think I just can’t believe the difference that this is made to the way government responds to things. We they become enablers. Not, not thinking of a thousand reasons why not to do things. We’ve been finding the, we’ve just been doing it. It’s great. And I hope that continues and that we remember how important main streets are to the quality of life in our communities and that the businesses in them need our support.
John Archer [00:59:43] And I’ll just that agree with all that and then my, you know, just being a future opportunity orientated, keeping that hopper full of new ideas to occupy our main streets, that location on our main streets still matters. And and how does that kind of happen in terms of that this is you know, I see my own neighbourhood, new businesses still opening up during the pandemic, which is great that they’re, you know, fourth, you know, finding that way forward and through the chat. I mean, I think that kind of recurring theme is still with access to financing and how that new businesses can access that financing, whether it’s being delivered not at the bank level, but maybe more of the credit unions and different cooperatives and different kind of things that have to come forward and be legitimised for access to financing rather than the traditional set that we’re used to in the past.
André Côté [01:00:38] Yeah, I think I think that’s a great point to to leave on, it’s something that you guys explored. But that by that, I think definitely needs some some some further focus in the next the next little while. So I will I will close it there. Mary will slap my wrist for sure for being a minute over. But but I think that was a great session. A big thanks to you, John and Judy, for all of your work on this project, but also for presenting your your report today. Big thanks to all of the panellists for it for all your excellent thoughts on this. And, of course, to the audience for it for joining us. And I’m sorry I didn’t get to more of your your chat stuff, your chat comments and questions, but but I hope you took something from this. So a reminder, this is the second of four action week events focused on main streets. Tomorrow’s will focus on rapid placemaking with with Vancouver based Happy City. And then Friday’s on planning and urban design for pandemic recovery with Halifax based Fathom Studio. So we’re hopping all around the country. Those should both be really good. So so we encourage we encourage everybody to join us for those. And with that, I will sign off. Thanks. Thanks again, everybody. And we will talk soon.
Judy Lam [01:01:49] Thank you.
Note to reader: Chat comments have been edited for ease of readability. The text has not been edited for spelling or grammar. For questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with “Chat Comments” in the subject line.
From Canadian Urban Institute: You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our webinars at https://canurb.org/citytalk
12:01:26 From Canadian Urban Institute: Welcome! Folks, please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.
12:02:24 From Canadian Urban Institute: You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our sessions at https://www.canurb.org/citytalk
12:03:12 From Canadian Urban Institute: CUI extends a big thank you to our partner for today’s session 360 Collective http://www.360collective.co/
12:03:26 From Denny Warner: Hello from Sidney, BC on Vancouver Island
12:03:32 From Ranon Soans: Hi from Edmonton
12:03:37 From paul mackinnon to All panelists: Hi from Halifax, NS
12:03:40 From Kjeld-Mizpah Conyers-Steede to All panelists: Hi from Halifax, NS
12:03:48 From Stuart Filson: Hello from London, Ontario
12:03:49 From Ayusha Hanif to All panelists: Hello from Penetanguishene Ontario
12:03:54 From Carlos Salazar to All panelists: hello, Buenas Tardes, from Clarington (Bowmanville) Ontario
12:03:54 From Bob van Wegen: Hi from Calgary
12:03:55 From Canadian Urban Institute:
12:04:07 From Michal Matyjewicz: Hello from Downtown Toronto!
12:04:16 From Ryan Lynn: Good afternoon! Hello from Brampton
12:04:18 From Rachel Braithwaite: Hello from Hamilton:)
12:04:21 From Canadian Urban Institute: Keep the conversation going #BringBackMainStreet #citytalk @canurb
12:04:36 From Britney Conlon to All panelists: Hello from St. Catharines!
12:04:37 From NOÉMIE LUCAS to All panelists: Hi from Montréal !
12:04:47 From sue uteck to All panelists: Hello from Halifax!
12:04:58 From Canadian Urban Institute: https://bringbackmainstreet.ca/solution-briefs
12:05:41 From Julia Davis: Hello from the City of Hamilton
12:06:43 From Canadian Urban Institute: You can read the full report here: Supporting Main Street Recovery through Small-Business-Friendly Policy https://bit.ly/3lRBpMl
360 Collective http://www.360collective.co/
12:07:29 From Canadian Urban Institute:
Dr. Alexandra Flynn, University of British Columbia
Judy Lam, City of Hamilton
Chris Rickett, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
Antoinette Rodrigue, Association des sociétés de développement commercial de Montréal
12:15:47 From Canadian Urban Institute to Lisa Cavicchia CUI(Privately): Ah…didn’t note the start time of their presentation….I think Andre spoke for a little bit….maybe 12:10?
12:17:06 From Lisa Cavicchia CUI to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately): I think it was 12:08
12:17:28 From Canadian Urban Institute to Lisa Cavicchia CUI(Privately): ok thanks! You said they had 17 minutes? LOL
12:17:41 From Lisa Cavicchia CUI to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately): yes please
12:17:47 From Ralph Cipolla: from Ralph cipolla hello from Orillia Ontario
12:18:27 From Chelsea Whity: Hello from Edmonton, AB
12:18:29 From Canadian Urban Institute to Lisa Cavicchia CUI(Privately): Ok I’ll give them a flag when they have 2 mins.:)
12:24:03 From Canadian Urban Institute to John Archer(Privately): Presentation is great! I think you guys have another two minutes.:)
12:24:15 From Canadian Urban Institute to Judy Morgan(Privately): Presentation is great! I think you guys have another two minutes.:)
12:24:22 From Abby S: What is interesting is how quickly cities changed rules around patios etc. When necessary governing bodies can move quickly. Although I would say the government support programs are still hard to access and still quite restrictive for sole owner establishmets.
12:25:46 From Diego Almaraz: I fully agree @Abby! It was great to see that we can actually move and approve things quickly when needed, now we need to apply that same decisiveness to policy that strengthens communities
12:26:02 From Canadian Urban Institute to Judy Morgan(Privately): Amazing!!!
12:26:09 From Canadian Urban Institute to John Archer(Privately): Amazing!!!
12:27:48 From Ranon Soans: Great point about creative community financing! It seems critical to the sustainability/self-sufficiency of main streets today.
12:29:19 From Max Materne to All panelists: What about funding technical innovations that support small business competitiveness vs reducing business expenses? Increasing the top line vs decreasing bottom line? Tech can do much to help small businesses both access programs and access tools to help them sell to their consumers.
12:29:53 From paul mackinnon to All panelists: Major banks have NOT been helpful. Especially for restaurants. Would be interested to know if Vancity model could be replicated in other cities.
12:30:15 From Canadian Urban Institute to Max Materne and all panelists: Hi, Max! Can you change your chat settings to all panelists and attendees? We want everyone to see your comment/question. Thank you!
12:30:23 From John Archer to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately): Agree. Max. need to be forward opportunity seeking
12:30:28 From paul mackinnon to All panelists: Antoinette, how did you measure the success of pedestrian streets? Did you track foot traffic, sales? What about pushback from non-restaurants?
12:30:31 From Canadian Urban Institute to paul mackinnon and all panelists: Hi, Paul! Can you change your chat settings to all panelists and attendees? We want everyone to see your comment/question. Thank you!
12:30:51 From paul mackinnon: Major banks have NOT been helpful. Especially for restaurants. Would be interested to know if Vancity model could be replicated in other cities.
Antoinette, how did you measure the success of pedestrian streets? Did you track foot traffic, sales? What about pushback from non-restaurants?
12:31:17 From Max Materne: What about funding technical innovations that support small business competitiveness vs reducing business expenses? Increasing the top line vs decreasing bottom line? Tech can do much to help small businesses both access programs and access tools to help them sell to their consumers.
12:31:27 From John Archer: Max. agree. we need to be future opportunity oriented
12:34:20 From Abby S: @paul agree 100% that banks have not changed their behaviour or risk profiles in any way…
12:35:17 From Abby S: Banks do not incorporate community into their assessments a we all know…nor to they evaluate the overalll importance of main street, they look individually n to holistically at a neighborhood.
12:37:24 From Ranon Soans: Yup. The banks are also an issue we see in Edmonton. Especially when Toronto-based financiers aren’t likely to know anything about a recovering/growing main street or neighbourhood in western Canada.
12:42:40 From sue uteck to All panelists: In Nova Scotia , headed up by the Chamber of Commerce we formed a Business and Economic Coalition which included reps from all 3 levels of gov’t, (MPS, MLA, Mayor etc), all BIDS across the province, our Economic Wing (Greater Halifax Partnership, Tourism , CFIB etc) By mobilizing and having direct contact with government who relied on our observations we were able to effect change quickly.
12:44:58 From paul mackinnon: Judy, is there any commitment to incorporate BBMS recommendations into the Hamilton’s official recovery plan? That is what we’re pushing for, here in Halifax.
12:45:00 From Canadian Urban Institute to sue uteck and all panelists: Hi, Sue! Could you change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” and repost your comment? It would be great if all attendees can benefit from your comment. Thanks!
12:46:50 From Patricia Barnes: Small businesses also enable socialization for those who are isolated so very important part of the community
12:47:55 From sue uteck: In Nova Scotia, headed up by the Chamber of Commerce we formed a Business nd Economic Coalition which included reps from all 3 levels of gov’t. (MPS, MLAS, MAYOR ETC) all Bids across the Province, our Economic Wing -Greater Halifax Partnership, Tourism, Cfib etc) By mobilizing and having direct contact with government who relied on our observations we were able to affect change quickly.
12:48:26 From DeeDee Nelson: Sue that sounds amazing!
12:52:50 From DeeDee Nelson: Well said Alexandra about the City of Vancouver being more nimble and not getting bogged down with the ‘system’ policies.
12:53:42 From DeeDee Nelson: And looking at all the neighbourhoods, not just downtown.
12:54:37 From DeeDee Nelson: Still much needed.
12:55:29 From Max Materne: Agreed Antoinette! There needs to be a robust e-commerce tool they can switch to so they can sell their products that way all the time or switch to full time if needed.
12:56:13 From Canadian Urban Institute:
Read the full report from 360 Collective: Supporting Main Street Recovery through Small-Business-Friendly Policy https://bit.ly/3lRBpMl
360 Collective http://www.360collective.co/
To read this and other solutions briefs, visit:
Register for other sessions this week at: https://bringbackmainstreet.ca/action-week
You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our sessions at https://www.canurb.org/citytalk
Keep the conversation going #BringBackMainStreet #citytalk @canurb
What did you think of today’s conversation? Help us improve our programming with a short post-webinar survey – https://bit.ly/3k3nLFe
To support CityTalk and the Canadian Urban Institute’s other city building initiatives, please donate at www.canurb.org/donate.
12:56:37 From Lisa Cavicchia CUI: Here’s an article on Montreal’s eco friendly bike service for small biz: https://www.timeout.com/montreal/montreal-news/the-city-of-montreal-has-launched-an-eco-friendly-bike-delivery-service-for-small-businesses-041720
12:57:43 From DeeDee Nelson: Thank you Lisa I love that!
12:58:36 From Lisa Cavicchia CUI: check out citysharecanada.ca for other great initiatives happening on main streets in Canada & internationally
12:58:41 From Tom Hawkett to All panelists: I know this is a small piece but the video below is a link to a clip from Global News Tuesday Oct 6th News about our new safe space offering for Washrooms to Help restaurants provide a safe place for patrons/ customers
12:58:56 From Khurram Farid Bargatt to All panelists: 👍👍
12:59:35 From Khatereh Baharikhoob to All panelists: What about public realm along Main Street? Streetscaping, tree planting, vegetation, all season street furniture, winter-friendly places ? Main Streets are beyond retails, business and food and cafes…they are also about placemaking with landscape architecture and urban design…
12:59:40 From DeeDee Nelson: Very good, will do.
12:59:47 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tom Hawkett and all panelists: Hi, Tom! Could you share that with everyone by resending it and changing your chat settings to all panelists and attendees? Thanks for sharing!
13:00:38 From Lisa Cavicchia CUI: Also check out our toolkits on https://bringbackmainstreet.ca/ including one on placemaking and another on design & planning
13:00:51 From Canadian Urban Institute to Khatereh Baharikhoob and all panelists: Hi, Khatereh! Can you change your chat settings and repost your comment. Thanks for sharing!
13:01:04 From Khatereh Baharikhoob: What about public realm along Main Street? Streetscaping, tree planting, vegetation, all season street furniture, winter-friendly places ? Main Streets are beyond retails, business and food and cafes…they are also about placemaking with landscape architecture and urban design…
13:01:30 From DeeDee Nelson: It all really becomes a philosophical idea about how we want to live our lives.
13:01:48 From DeeDee Nelson: Yes Khatereh!
13:01:52 From Canadian Urban Institute: Read the full report from 360 Collective: Supporting Main Street Recovery through Small-Business-Friendly Policy https://bit.ly/3lRBpMl
360 Collective http://www.360collective.co/
To read this and other solutions briefs, visit:
Register for other sessions this week at: https://bringbackmainstreet.ca/action-week
13:01:59 From Leandro Santos: Thank you to all the panelists!
13:02:03 From DeeDee Nelson: Thank you everyone!
13:02:07 From Mary Rowe: great session!
13:02:33 From Ralph Cipolla: thank you all
13:02:35 From Khurram Farid Bargatt to All panelists: 👍👍👍👍👍