Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Local Nova Scotia Economy in Danger.

I need to illustrate what a supportive economy looks like in Lunenburg because I fear it is in jeapordy.  This is Joanne and Diane.  They drove down today from Halifax to visit me in my home-based business.  Dianne (on the right) has been going through chemo and ordered this hat from me because it makes her happy.  The headband jumped off the shelf and insisted on going home with Joanne.  Two happy ladies had a happy experience in Lunenburg.  Now they are headed to Sweet Indulgence for lattes and pastries.  Who knows what other temptations will greet them in the commercial district.

There is no competition between Home-based businesses and the shops in the commercial zones.  All good business people understand that we support each other. We are two different types of businesses.  I need to work from home because I am a mother that needs to be there for her child when he gets off the school bus and I am a crafts person that cannot afford the expense of commercial rent.  Everybody wins.  A creative industry brought two ladies to Lunenburg on a grey February day and now some money will circulate through town.  Hey, now that I made a bit of money today, I might even go treat myself to a latte.

I don't believe that this very basic truth, that home-based businesses help grow our economy is understood by the mayor of Lunenburg.  Yesterday she spoke of her desire to make our Land Use Bylaw more restrictive for home-based businesses if the province determines that there is no need for the building inspector to require changes to a home.  I don't know where this view point comes from,  I fear it is because there is a misconception from a few influential people that home-based businesses compete with those in the commercial district.   If the mayor gets her wish and makes Lunenburg's Land Use Bylaw more restrictive, then artists and crafts people, young families and immigrants, that need the flexibility of working from home, will not choose Lunenburg.

Our land use bylaw has been well thought out.  The reason that people can sell what they make from home is because artists and craftspeople can not produce enough to draw crowds.  I can make 2 hats a day.  Businesses like mine are a niche market.  People will travel to find me, but unlike a large clothing store or a shoe store, it is only a small number of people that will be interested in what I make.  It would be the same for any type of craft.   That is why this kind of retail is very appropriate in residential zones.  Having two ladies in one car come to buy hats does not negatively affect a residential zone, yet positively supports the whole town. If I found the demand superseding my supply, I would consider hiring someone and renting a shop in the commercial zone, once my son is a bit older.  If my town can support me and others like me, through supportive planning policies, then they will nurture the growth of  business and nurture the entire economy of a town.  Young people and new families will also be more apt to choose Lunenburg.  This is what it means to support entrepreneurs.  Anything else is just lip service.

3 comments:

  1. "Yesterday she spoke of her desire to make our Land Use Bylaw more restrictive for home-based businesses if the province determines that there is no need for the building inspector to require changes to a home."

    I don't understand how these two things are even linked.
    Because she thinks that by being 'less restrictive' every single resident in Lunenburg will open up a home-based business with gay abandon?
    Because the building inspector won't have anything to do?
    Oh! Or maybe he'll miss hanging out in some of the cool old houses of The Burg?

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  2. Hi Just Jen,
    I have but one question for you. Do you own a home-based business?

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  3. I think Jen has hit one nail precisely on its head - the fear that all of a sudden there will be a hundred homes opening businesses on a single street, causing a traffic and parking hullabaloo - a sentiment expressed by at least one town councilor. Which is, of course, total nonsense.

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