Business association should rest in peace

Re: “Downtown Nanaimo needs its improvement association back,” comment, Sept. 30.

The points penned by David Witty are far from correct. He has shown his biases.

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He fails to acknowledge he worked for Vancouver Island University, which was the beneficiary of a large mobile event stage courtesy of the defunct Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association.

He wrongly blusters that only one event was held downtown this year, when in fact the Old City Quarter, Victoria Crescent Association and many, many others will have staged more than 30 major events. When the BIA was around, it put on only six so-called signature events a year — and they were snatching $460,000 per year from taxpayer’s pockets.

Crime in the city core rose dramatically under the business group’s watch, but, ironically, its safety committee rarely met. It was some merchants and property owners who successfully lobbied to keep the city’s community-safety office open and continue fighting downtown concerns.

As well, it must be noted that almost three-quarters of the old DNBIA’s half-million-dollar budget went to administration and wages. It became mainly a lobby group for a few business people, such as Witty’s Planning, Design and Development group. His society wants to re-develop the Terminal Avenue - Nicol Street corridor, but obviously they are having trouble proceeding with this business interest and want the BIA back.

All in all, the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association did next to nothing for our city centre. It needs to RIP — for the good of taxpayers.

Robert Fuller


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