Eat up!

If you like the tourism sector, this must grind your gourd a bit. Total food service sales in New Brunswick in July suffered the second highest decline but more importantly NB is second last in the country for per capita spending on this sector. But, in fairness, there’s a bunch all clumped together down there – Newfoundland, Sask and even Nova Scotia is not much higher. Then there’ s a major jump to PEI, Ontario and our friends in BC who spend almost double per capita on eating out compared to New Brunswick.

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0 Responses to Eat up!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hard to eat out when you’ve got no money.

  2. scott says:

    Anonymous is right. As well, from traveling to every city in Canada and enjoying what they have or had to offer, I find New Brunswick cities are so far behind in waterfront development, in that, they don’t do a good enough job of catering or marketing themselves to Tourist (i.e. bike paths, mini-parks, a viable arts scene, outdoor patios, downtown beautification, etc., etc.) If you want perspective, a friend from Saskatoon, a thirty something with kids, visited this summer and he coined the city of Moncton “as a hay field with malls”. And this person had a chance to visit Mainstreet, which he coined very uneventful. He was amazed at the lack of skyline growth and downtown nightlife or buzz in all three major cities. Remember, this guy was from SASKATCHEWAN, not the US, Ontario, BC, Quebec or Alberta. I think a David Campbell “Geesssh” is in order. LOL

    However, they did enjoy the Rocks, Cape Enrage, etc, etc. But not the cities which his fanily usually enjoy when on a trip.

  3. scott says:

    Since the Lord government’s tourism strategy was geared toward inbound promotion, I think this trend would further hurt New Brunswick tourism.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have long said that Moncton’s main Street should be close to traffic in the Summer. Expand the restaurant patio’s, have buskards and theater groups perform and here’s a crazy thought…let liquor be able to be consumed outdoors like in Las Vegas.

  5. scott says:

    Duhhh! Sorry David, I guess that was the trend you were originally discussing in this post, “The pace of domestic spending on tourism in Canada slowed to 0.6 per cent, the weakest quarterly gain in two years, with notable declines in spending on accommodation, food-and-beverage services, and recreation and entertainment.”

    My bad.

  6. scott says:

    Btw, I just read your follow up comment, anon. Great idea. The fact that Sparks street in Ottawa is closed to traffic adds to the “walk in tourist” who like to browse and spend. The more traffic that we get in a downtown waterfront area, the better, as it will encourage more businesses to open up and cater to this clientel.(which is obviously missing from the downtown)

    How about upgrading the entire dowtown block from King street past Botsford all the way to the Bay and beyond. I’m talking about all the streets in-between George and Main, as well as the area near the Petitcodiac river. Maybe an emergency downtown development strategy session is in order?

  7. Geeks says:

    I really think we are missing out big time and we should leverage the investment we have made to our beautifull downtown core. I have been to many major urban areas(NYC, Wash, LA, Miami, Montreal, TO and LV). I do beleive we have the infrastrucutre to entertain and host business and vacational tourists. Plus, with a convention center in the works, entertainement will be critical to attract conventions. I have been to many shows and the best ones are the cities with a thriving downtown core.

    I think the reason in the past as to not close Main Street to traffic has been because we lacked another major road into the downtown area, but with the new bridge and Assomption BLVD, that should no longer be an excuse.

    Imagine the money generated from summer vendor permits, new bars and restaurants, exposure for local artists, deli’s, new shops, cafe’s and might I suggest a e-zone like Freddy has for business people.

    I would probably hold off on a major block, unitl we build a critical mass thought. But you may have a good case Scott.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does it matter? There is really no way to put such a thing on the agenda. I really find it odd that such a thing is said about Moncton. For people with kids it is a great place, and I’ve got news for you-kids LOVE malls!

    Plus the amusements like Crystal palace,and more beautiful parks than any other city I’ve seen-even in ontario.

    Just for discussion though, virtually every city has a car free zone. Dublin closes off many of the downtown streets, but of course, if you don’t have the foot traffic there isn’t much point. However, some emails can be sent to council to try something out.

    But nighttime is tricky. Clearly in order to ‘clean up’ the cities, draconian steps have been taken. In Fredericton, where it is illegal to just ask for a quarter, much of july had empty streets.

    But having been to Saskatchewan I can tell you the three cities have far more to offer, but often because of the police presence certain types of people are afraid to be in the streets. Once theres people there, people get into the feeling of fun and the numbers increase exponentially. Ironically, once the main tourist season passed in Fredericton, the police lightened up and the crowds once more came out in droves.

    But for nightlife, there are tons of bars and clubs around. Maybe no buskers but I have to think that that is only going to draw in so many people.

    Just to post some other ideas:

    1. Theatre. Outdoor theatre troupes should be welcomed. High school students should be encouraged in drama. That’s how Stratford got started. With todays focus on entertainment that shouldn’t be tough to get kids interested.

    2. Cinema. In Waterloo Imax movies are shown broadcasted on the side of a building. Tickets are free and people bring their own chairs and refreshments, and donations can be made to charities.

    3. Organizations. In Alberta, I forget the town, but organizations like rotary, KofC, you name it, are encouraged to hold their meetings outside in parks. Tables and chairs can even be provided. This creates the illusion of ‘something going on’ which often has the effect that something will go on.

    4. Sports. As mentioned on another thread the desire for cricket was mentioned. Other european sports like bocce and lawn bowling are increasingly in demand, in particular among seniors.

    5. Seniors. This group is often overlooked and I can’t count the number of ‘stay at home’ seniors who just don’t feel a part of society. There is a town in the states that brings all the residents from seniors complexes together for recreation.

  9. MonctonLandlord says:

    To Scott and anon.

    I will say again, PROPERTY TAXES is a major problem in NB for SME (aka cafes, restaurants, bars, tourism operators, gift shops, and any other businesses downtown).

    Where is Downtown Moncton (SJ and FTON too) when you need lobbying?

    The xtra tax collected by the Provincial Governement (the only one in the country that permits itself to impose a provincial property tax on commercial building (you would think that the municipality gets its fair share, rightfully so…).

    So again, let’s say a downtown restaurant, a casual fine dining place launches, with a modest 30 places, (assessement a $250k for property tax purposes). The landlord must collect an extra $316 per month in rent to remit to the Provincial Government!!!! – the only province in the country like this.

    So if you had $250k for buying a building and leasing to tenants, where would you go, where there is a need or where it is more profitable???

    Thanks for the numbers, DC.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m not discounting the above guys argument, that’s an important one, however, you do have to remember that this is a province that has barely balanced books. That means if those taxes aren’t paid for by business owners it has to come from somewhere else. THAT is where the argument gets sticky. Seeing that construction is continuing fairly unabated, I’m thinking that is not a huge issue for investors.

    I do agree that it is an issue that should be discussed, I suspect Irving investments have some very clever and ingenious ways to get around taxes like that, so it falls on the little guy. Like I said, my parents had a duplex but couldn’t use it as an investment vehicle except while they were both working, so it worked to reduce taxes. But if you don’t live in a building, you pay twice as much tax.

    However, none of the above suggestions were based on land use whatsoever, so none have any ramifications for taxation. Having the kiwanis have a general meeting in a park where they can then play bocce,instead of sitting in a dank room playing an old dart board, doesn’t cost anybody anything.

    Mostly this involves a ‘ra ra’ section that DC talks about on the other post. Having somebody at the city going to EVERYBODY in Moncton and saying ‘here’s what we’ve made available to you’. The point here is that we have people either scared of the government or just not involved enough (see the cricket thread). Obviously there is a need for government to ‘open the doors’. That takes some effort, but even local government has resources.

  11. Geeks says:

    Great thread. I think all the comments contain valid feedback. It’ll be interesting what direction that the city takes with the downtown vision forum that was held not very long ago.