From my time working as a community organizer to improve derelict strip malls to my work in championing facade improvement for businesses, neighbourhood businesses are something I have fought for throughout my term on Council and my life in Edmonton. Neighbourhood businesses serve as hubs for the communities in which they reside, providing local options for food, work, and play. They greatly increase a community’s livability and therefore its attractiveness for young families, a crucial aspect of keeping our mature neighbourhoods strong.
The Facade Improvement Program was expanded by this Council in 2014 due to its immense success in improving small community businesses. The program works by providing financial support for mature commercial centres (like strip malls) and the businesses moving in. This support is aimed at improving the exterior of these centres (the facade) in order to improve their attractiveness and design for future customers. This program, in tandem with the development incentive grants we have in place for supporting interior commercial construction, are a big reason why we are seeing mature commercial centres being revitalized across the city. Petrolia Mall in Ward 10 stands out as one of the best examples of this improvement. When I started the Fix Petrolia Mall committee back in 2012, before I won my seat on Council, it was in a sorry state. Since then, we have seen a revitalization largely due to the work of the community in influencing city policy (like the expansion of the Facade Improvement Program) and in attracting businesses. A grocery store, medicentre and pharmacy, and a vegan restaurant have all moved in in recent years and there is much more on the way.
FOSTERING A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SOUTH EDMONTON BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
Additionally, I have been very pleased to build a close relationship with the South Edmonton Business Association. They offer a valuable connection for small and medium sized businesses in South Edmonton and advocate on behalf of their members to ensure business are positively affected by city policy. The best thing politicians can do for the business community is to be engaged with them, listen to them, and ensure they have a city that understands the value they add to our livability and prosperity.