As unpleasant as it might be for some people to read this, city council was probably right to reduce funding for the Business Improvement District.
But the way it went about doing it was wrong.
Council’s point is that events-planning is not BID’s mandate. And clearly, it is not. Unless you can relate hosting such things as Sidewalks Days to beautifying the downtown, it does not fall within the parameters of BID’s mandate.
But why now? Timing would suggest the decision was budget related.
But then why has BID been allowed to host Sidewalk Days for the past several years and no one from council ever pointed out this isn’t part of its mandate and it is not to use city funding for this?
While many residents enjoy the colourful baskets of flowers that BID puts out in the summer and last year’s decorated Christmas trees in front of some businesses were a nice addition to the season, even more people made a point of coming downtown for Sidewalk Days.
It has become a part of the city’s fabric. Now council has picked at a thread in that fabric and it is all unravelling.
Fine. The city is right. Events-planning is not part of BID’s mandate. It should not have been allowed to go on for as long as it did. Previous councils should have stepped in years ago.
Or council could have simply changed the mandate to include planning events to bring people into the downtown. Or, failing that, council could have waited until after this year’s Sidewalk Days before pulling the plug, thereby allowing BID or another group a year to find an alternative source of funding.
Sometimes a one-year hiatus is a good thing. Let’s hope that’s the case for Sidewalk Days.