A SURVEY of Terrace residents released by the Terrace Downtown Improvement Area (TDIA) society shows that the main gripes about the downtown core are public drunkenness and buildings in disrepair.
The survey, conducted during the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce’s April Business Expo held at the Sportsplex and released last week, focussed on challenges and assets of the downtown core.
Forty per cent of the 133 people surveyed cited intoxicated people as their main issue and 26 per cent said buildings being rundown. Another 12 per cent indicated they felt there was a problem with parking, including lack of spots and theft/vandalism. The survey included residents from several age categories, with 8 per cent representing people 10-18 years of age, 15 per cent 19-30, 21 per cent 31-45, 44 per cent 46-65 and 12 per cent 65 years and up.
The comments included reference to “unfriendly (inebriated) pedestrian loiterers at night”, with “fighting, drunks, garbage from them.”
As for the rundown appearance, specific comments included “The [former Terrace] Co-op lot, Inn of the West” which “looks barren and awful”; “colours of buildings are horrible, state of streets in poor repair”.
The survey shows that 81 per cent of Terrace residents will take out of town visitors on outdoor activities as opposed to a minority who would most likely take visitors shopping or to local pubs and restaurants.
Theft from parked cars was also considered an issue by survey respondents.
Some wrote that there isn’t enough parking, while others say there is “too much excellent space taken up by parking. We need a parkade and more bike locks, and bike friendly downtown!”
The city’s best assets were listed as the Skeena Valley Farmers Market, the renovated Skeena Mall and the Grand Trunk Pacific Pathway, commonly known as the millennium trail. The abundance of trails in general, and gardens, was noted by several participants.
Scenery and accessibility of stores and services was widely praised, though several participants called for extended business hours. On the most-desired list is a cultural centre or museum, more live music, sidewalk vendors and buskers, more benches on the main shopping streets, handicap accessible stores and more things for teens to do.
TDIA coordinator Dennis Lissimore said it is slowly working on these issues—promoting the good and trying to mend the bad.
Recent initiatives to come out of a strategic meeting include promoting extended hours for business, as Lissimore said stores like Canadian Tire and Walmart are benefitting from night shoppers.
To get local businesses into this night flow of consumers the society is promoting an event like the one held after American Thanksgiving, where stores have extended hours on the last weekend in November.
Lissimore said issues of public safety related to drunken rowdiness downtown affect the willingness of business to stay open later.
“You’re trying to get women and children downtown in the evening, and if they don’t feel safe that’s a big problem,” he said.
TDIA receives $60,000 a year for operations paid for by a city fee taken from 251 properties in the downtown area.