Letter to the editor

I was so excited to fill out the recent Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce survey regarding a pedestrian-only main street feature on Saturdays and/or Fridays and Saturdays.

I was overwhelmingly in favour of Invermere trying some plan of this nature, but the businesses have spoken, and for the third time have shot down any willingness to approach this subject as a collective Chamber of Commerce initiative, rather than a main street exclusive initiative.

I believe this is a missed opportunity and quite frankly shortsighted. I have visited farmer/artist markets in locations around the world, and the use of a pedestrian-only main street is common for the duration of the market hours for the season. 

In my view, it only adds to the vibrancy of the street level business community on those days. In Invermere, there are some market days that are so busy that the sidewalks on main are so crowded. I simply go home, not venturing in to one shop.

Invermere seems like the ideal setting for a pedestrian-only initiative. 

Since we have moved here we often remark about the activeness of community members and we should want to enhance that any way we can.

I think most people would agree that the proposal tried to be flexible enough (offering several options that could be tweaked) and that most residents and visitors alike would be amenable to parking in the designated parking lots as they do for, say, the Remembrance Day ceremony every year. 

I might add that the Chamber of Commerce and the District of Invermere also represent the businesses that are not located on main street. 

By trying something new, and redirecting traffic for one day per week in the summer season, perhaps their businesses might gain some exposure that they would gladly welcome.

Lastly, why is it so easily dismissed by the District of Invermere? As stated, “the results showed a clear majority of local residents either strongly agree or somewhat agree with creating a vehicle-free pedestrian area in downtown Invermere on some days…” And yet, business gets to decide this for everyone; no compromise, no cooperation, no time limited pilot project to see the results, make adjustments and create something that would benefit all users. 

Lori Czoba, Invermere