One of the things I love to do as mayor is to visit new businesses.
Every month we select a few, and I go to meet with the owner, welcome them to Williams Lake if they are a new resident, and to learn about their business. Last week, I visited Kim Kaytor at Smashin’ Smoothies, and I saw how businesspeople are different.
They step up and take risks, because they believe in their product or service, and they believe in themselves. Sometimes we forget about those risks, but we are grateful for them.
Keep your eyes open; more and more people are discovering Williams Lake is a great place to start a business. Last year, the City issued 113 new business licenses, which is a 37% increase over 2011.
Other positive 2012 economic indicators are that new home construction, airport passengers, and the average selling price for a house are all up over 2011. The best news of all is that the Cariboo’s unemployment rate is 4.4 per cent, the lowest in years, and lower than the provincial average!
On another note, it is very difficult to see stores closing. The face of retail is changing across the country. We also see it close to home, with the Shoe Warehouse and Zellers stores shutting their doors in Williams Lake.
I am in regular contact with the Boitanio Mall owner and manager, and the City will do what it can to support new businesses in the mall.
Council unanimously passed a resolution requesting that the Cariboo Regional District enter into mediation on the fringe fire protection issue. It’s very important that we are able to sit down at a table and work on issues together. Open, respectful communications are key. The sooner we can do this the better.
Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.