Monday, June 13, 2016
Oh Dear, Another Petition for Lunenburg Council - Please sign it.
Post script note: Council reversed their decision and the flags will be hung. The only stipulation is that the businesses pay for the expense of hanging the flags, but that's easy. Thank you, Lunenburg Council, for listening to the community.
Please believe me when I tell you that no local business wants to start a petition to their municipal council. As small business owners we work tirelessly to bring positive attention to our businesses and the towns where we choose to run them. When in the midst of the tourist season you find such a petition circulating, you can be sure there is something very wrong.
In this case, the specific issue is these beautiful flags running across Lincoln st. in Lunenburg. This was an initiative of Dots and Loops , Jenny Jib and Down Home Living. They got council's approval to hang these flags last summer. Not only did they add a festive feeling to the town, they also drew people to this less traveled section of Lincoln st. This year council voted to disallow the hanging of these flags. Councillors Barclay, McGee, Zwicker and Mayor Bailley opposed them. Councillors Mosher and Croft were in favour of the flags. Councillor Hayden was absent. The reason given by administration to the businesses was that they could not spare the manpower to hang them and they could not allow the businesses to hang them themselves due to liability issues. Any thinking person understands that this is not the truthful reason. If council has money to create a brochure explaining to residents how to cross at cross walks, then they can certainly afford the cost of hanging these flags.
The community is very upset and I understand from a "story" perspective the whole issue is quite comical. It's just your typical small town drama. The thing is, there is a much deeper, underlying issue and that is why people feel so incensed. It is about small businesses feeling unsupported by their local government. It is about small businesses feeling unappreciated for all the extra work they do to grow a town and community. It is about a small business owner feeling like there is a lack of open and honest communication with government. It is about those in charge of making the rules being absolutely clueless as to how challenging it is for small businesses in rural Nova Scotia. A business owner has to feel quite dispirited to get to the point of starting a petition.
Council should have unanimously voted to allow the flags to be hung. The discussion should have lasted two minutes and sounded something this, 'We, as councillors should all make the effort to thank Melanie from Dots and Loops for taking this initiative to beautify our town. Let's also remember to thank her for all the other events she has planned and for her volunteer work with the Board of Trade. Let's thank her for choosing Lunenburg as the place to open such a beautiful shop. Let's thank her for staying open late and for drawing so many people to Lunenburg. Let's ask her if there is any other way we can support her and the neighbouring businesses in drawing more people to this section of Lincoln st. Without the efforts of people like her we would have empty store fronts and a town devoid of character.' If Lunenburg council supports small business then this would have been the only dialogue.
Please sign the petition. Click HERE