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REPORTING · 21st November 2015
Walter McFarlane
The results of the District of Kitimat’s Business walk have been compiled into a report that is visible on the District of Kitimat Website, 11 people representing Mayor and Council, the District of Kitimat, the Advisory Planning Commission and the Chamber of Commerce went store to store on Wednesday, November 4th.

The report can be found by clicking the following link.

“Business walks are a tool to gather and track the pulse of local businesses and help community leaders identify measures and actions that ensure jobs, goods and services stay in a community,” reads the report, which was compiled by the Economic Development Department of the District of Kitimat. “Civic and business leaders gather information that enables them to identify and remove barriers to doing business in their municipality.”

The participants in the business walk went business to business in Kitimat, store to store with five questions which they asked 64 businesses. They went to City Centre Mall, Mountainview Square, Nechako Centre, Service Centre and other businesses.

They found that 34% of the businesses in town are growing, 32% are steady and 34% are shrinking. They asked about what they like about doing businesses in Kitimat and what the greatest challenge businesses face.

“By far the most commonly cited challenge for Kitimat businesses was attracting and/or retaining qualified employees. Reponses of this nature were mentioned by 39% of businesses surveyed,” reads the report. “Economic uncertainty with the Rio Tinto project winding down and no LNG investment decisions yet was identified as the greatest challenge for 11% of businesses.”

The report also mentions two other challenges, competition from outside of the community and the size of their businesses with few alternatives in Kitimat. Businesses want to see shop local initiatives, continued industrial growth and skills training initiatives.

The report states that the final question, asking what information people would like access to, most chose not to answer or were satisfied with what was available. 20% of the businesses wanted more information on construction projects, new businesses or growth.

“Some businesses (8%) expressed interest in a community calendar or some other method of knowing in advance when community events are taking place,” reads the report.

The report admits many of the businesses provided details which were unique to their businesses which are not in the report.

The District of Kitimat will be doing a follow-up round table on November 26th where they will be discussing the findings of the walk and other actions, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Kitimat General Hospital Multipurpose room.
Business Walk, How About Consumer Questionaire?
Comment by Lucy McRae on 25th November 2015
The panel asked businesses what they would like to see, perhaps it would be even more helpful to ask local consumers what they would like to see. I for one have to go to Terrace to buy most things especially for crafting. It is sad that you can't buy Fabric, quality thread or even zippers in Kitimat (I tried yesterday). There is one store in town that carried these items but have not restocked for years and have never listened to their customers. I would much prefer to shop right here at home, if only I could just once shop for something and not be told we can order that....or there is no demand. I also hate to be told...well it's Kitimat!