Survey generated variety of ideas for businesses downtown

Overwhelmingly, people who answered a town survey about shopping in the downtown area would like more food related businesses there.

Overwhelmingly, people who answered a town survey about shopping in the downtown area would like more food related businesses there.

Top on the list of retail businesses was bakery, followed by butcher or meat shop, grocery and natural foods market. Others in the top 10 list were a fish and seafood shop and a delicatessen.

A book store, coffee shop, shoe store, family clothing and women’s clothing were also listed in the survey answered by 499 residents online. One hundred visitors answered in-person surveys.

A second question asked about service businesses people would like downtown. Top on the list was dinner theatre, followed by bar/grill/chain restaurant, ethnic food restaurant, comedy club, amusements and arcade, yoga and aerobics studio, movie rental, arts and culture instruction, fast food restaurant, fitness centre and movie theatre.

The 28 page report provides a plethora of information gleaned through survey questions and includes individual comments related to the downtown, business and lakeside environments.

Sylvan Lake councillors got their first look at the final ‘Downtown Revitalization Engagement Surveys and Supply and Demand Analysis’ report earlier this week but were reticent to accept it for information because they hadn’t had enough time to review it.

Instead they voted to defer discussion on the report to their next meeting, Sept. 9.

Councillor Dale Plante said it’s a great report, but complained he just got it that day.

“From your perspective what is it telling us,” Plante asked Economic Development Officer Vicki Kurz.

“A younger population completed the poll,” she said. “They’re looking for certain types of businesses, restaurants that are not pub related, activities, healthy outdoor activities, there’s a need for a public boat launch. Food is required in the downtown, a grocery store, bakery, fish market, family restaurant.”

Asked by Councillor Laverne Asselstine how the information will be distributed, Kurz said it would be on the town’s website Tuesday morning and a media release would be sent from the town. She also provided councillors a copy of an ‘opportunity profile’ which would be used to create interest.

Kurz said she’ll pursue businesses in categories represented in the survey to promote opportunities in Sylvan Lake.

Councillor Sean McIntyre agreed with Plante’s comment about lack of time to read the document. “Bring it back to the next meeting. I’m not prepared to make a recommendation on a report I haven’t had time to review.”

“The report’s overall theme focused on creating a unique shopping and activities environment that caters more towards families, cultural experiences and niche products,” Kurz said in Tuesday’s media release.

The same document quoted Mayor Susan Samson. “Residents, in general, were pleased to see the improvements made to Lakeshore Drive and many would like to see this theme carried through to 50th Street. There was a strong indication for the need for planned or designed outdoor healthy living activities along the lakeside including a public boat launch accessible for community members.”

Survey results and the final report are on the town’s website at www.sylvanlake.ca under “What’s Happening”.

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