Coun. Angus Davis took aim at the prevalence of empty commercial buildings in and around the downtown core of Cranbrook, at council’s regular meeting on Monday, July 15.
“A few years ago, I took to wandering around and saw how many business premises there were, so last Friday I thought, ‘Why don’t I do that – take a look around the community?’” Davis said.
Starting west of Cranbrook’s downtown, he found a hotel that was empty, just down the road from a used car lot that was also empty. He saw the old CPR transport building all boarded up.
“It’s not very inviting to see that,” he said.
Continuing on, the brick building near Swanson’s old parking lot has a lot of space available and is up for rent, while the old building across from the empty and vacated CPR terminal is empty and vacated as well.
“I think it’s owned by one of the stores downtown, it’s got no windows or anything in it, but it’s there and the terminal is empty across the street from it,” he said.
There is also the empty lot on Baker Street, the result of the great fire in the spring of 2012 that destroyed four addresses.
Further along, there are nine empty retail outlets in the Baker Street mall, as well as the former Giant Tiger store location.
On the 100 block of 11th Avenue there are four empty stores and an empty two-storey building.
“I think we should be very concerned about what we see in the community,” Davis said. “We have probably one of the nicest geographical locations there is; we should be directing our efforts to ensure that the people that are paying their taxes and make this place run … that our buildings are full, that the downtown is vibrant.”
Davis said the city is at a point where it needs to act, but there are too many things already on council’s plate.
“You want to do all these other things but when you go around and see, the glass is half full,” he said. “We’re missing something someplace. There’s got to be some kicker that we can get to, to make the downtown more vibrant and more fully occupied. We’re the centre of a huge trading area here in the southeast portion of the province.”
Davis said that council acts like everything is alright, but it’s not when buildings are empty.