Trail Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee appoints new members

Downtown businesses seek more involvement to increase foot traffic

They came out with a bang but have been quiet ever since.

That is Simone Park’s recollection of the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee (DOAC), that formed in 2010 to serve as an advisory board to Trail council, with respect to projects and initiatives the city was working on.

“I remember they were looking for suggestions on how to improve downtown,” said Park, manager of L’Bears Health Foods in downtown Trail.

“And I think I filled out a survey,” she said.

“Although I haven’t seen any real changes.”

The good news for the downtown businesses is that the DOAC has been re-energized and will soon become visible within the community.

Within its mandate, the committee maintains a vested interest in revitalizing Trail’s downtown core and membership includes a broad cross-section of the downtown business community.

On June 24, the DOAC was rejigged and appointed two new members as the “Downtown Plan” moves into the execution phase, said Coun. Kevin Jolly.

Essentially the “Downtown Plan” has been mapped out into three phases, he explained.

The Victoria Street Corridor infrastructure work, set to take place over the summer, is the first phase.

“However, the committee’s role in this is somewhat limited as it is mostly construction at this point,” said Jolly.

The DOAC role will be advisory in nature, but will make recommendations to council as the second and third phases of the plan draw near, which include downtown street-scape enhancements and establishing a civic plaza.

“The committee also functions as a liaison between City Hall and the downtown business community,” said Jolly.

“They will be engaged in planning events, special projects, and activities that will help downtown become more lively, animated and inviting.”

The committee’s newest members are long established business owners in the downtown core and well respected within its community.

Rob Ironmonger, of Keystone Appraisals, understands the highs and lows of operating a business in downtown Trail and volunteered to join the committee to lend his experiences.

“We have gone through the process of renovating a building in downtown,” he said. “I understand the type of financial costs involved with that but also the benefits from having done it.”

Gordon Fischer, of Now Advertising is the second newly appointed member of the committee.

Fischer was born and raised in Trail and served on council in 1980.

“Presently we are property owners in downtown Trail,” he said.

“Our interest in seeing the area grow and thrive is deep rooted.”

However, new business owner, Sabine Mann of Women’s Journey to Fitness on Spokane Street, said she has never heard of the committee or its objectives.

“We have been here for four months but never had any acknowledgement,” said Mann.

“We chose this location because it is on the end of town without much going on,” she said.

“And we want to make things happen here. But I have never been approached to ask about my concerns or to find out how the committee can be beneficial to our business.”

Mann and neighbouring businesses are considering going it alone by hosting a day event to increase foot traffic to the south end of town.

“I’m think we need to give people a reason to come to this end of town,” she said.

“Something fun like Oktoberfest would draw a crowd for sure.”

“I’ll even do the cooking,” laughed Mann, a citizen with German descent.

For more information about the DOAC and the “Downtown Plan,” visit trail.ca.

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