Beverly North discovered, after a busy summer at her streetside business in Lake Cowichan that she wanted to do something to boost her community. So, she’s running for town council. "I sat on the corner at my ice cream trailer and people told me all kinds of things," she said.
What seemed to be bothering them the most was a perceived lack of support for new business.
"Couples often stop by, saying what a gorgeous place Lake Cowichan is, that they’d love to retire here. Most of these people are young seniors. They’re retiring and they want to turn their hobby or their interest into a little business. It’s more the socialization of it – putting out their jewelry or artwork.
"They’ve got the energy, the money and the time but they keep saying, ‘It looks like business doesn’t pay off in this town. With all those empty buildings, it doesn’t look good’."
North said people have complained to her that it’s hard to get a straight answer to questions about a business licence.
"There’s no encouragement and that’s the thing we should be doing. I literally had customers who were jumping up and down, waving money, saying, ‘I want to do
something, I want to buy something. What have you got? Where can we go?’" Another of North’s concerns involves lack of signage for town amenities.
"One man told me he spent an hour and a half looking for the boat launch because it wasn’t clearly marked. And public washrooms? People travelling through may want to use them. If they can’t find them, they’ll just drive straight through till they get to the campsite or whatever and the town loses the business."