Empty stores an ‘eyesore’

The Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) wants to fill empty storefronts to keep the downtown core looking alive and well.

The Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) wants to fill empty storefronts to keep the downtown core looking alive and well.

“The Downtown BIA is taking an interest in empty storefronts that cause a visual eyesore,” says Erika Anderson of Coho Books and president of the downtown BIA.

She says the plan is to work with a number of groups, including Rivercorp, the Chamber of Commerce, City of Campbell River, and the Art Gallery to come up with proposals that can be presented to landlords with suggestions of how to spruce up their vacant buildings.

Anderson says the empty buildings have come up quite often at BIA meetings and have been discussed by BIA members as well as other business owners and community members.

“I wanted to take some action on it, so I called a meeting (in November) to brainstorm ideas together,” Anderson says.

She says there is nothing concrete yet but the BIA plans to put ideas into practice in the New Year.

“We’re trying to come up with ideas,” Anderson says.

“It’s aimed at empty storefronts. There’s quite a lot of vacanies right now – some are real eye sores and it makes it look not as vibrant downtown. It’s dead space.”

Anderson says there are many options for how to deal with the bare windows.

“One possibility is to display artwork but there are quite a few things being done in other places,” Anderson says.

Ken Blackburn, executive director of the Campbell River Arts Council, has already been using an empty space downtown as an artist’s studio.

Anderson says more empty buildings could be used to display artwork but further details will be worked out in January.

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