Give grocers incentives to open downtown, councillors say
Grocery store chains and developers should be offered incentives to open stores in downtown Winnipeg, according to some city councillors.
The lack of grocery stores in the city core, highlighted by the upcoming closure of Zellers and some other recent store closures, was discussed at a city council meeting Wednesday.
Coun. Ross Eadie presented a motion calling on the city to offer incentives to encourage developers to set up grocery stores downtown.
The motion also proposes that officials look at what other cities, like New York, have done on the issue.
"What do you do? It's sort of like the issue with banks. You know, we're losing services in some of these neighbourhoods," said Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, who seconded the motion.
"All it is is exploring what might be done and what other cities are doing."
Mayor Sam Katz said he agrees that something needs to be done, but he added that offering incentives is not always the answer.
"Keep in mind, whatever location you choose is not going to make everybody happy as well. That's part of the problem. I mean, we have a large, large downtown," he said.
Katz says one option may be to offer a grocery store chain a special lease, where the store pays the lease as a per centage of its gross revenue.
Eadie's motion has been sent to the city's executive policy committee for review.
Officials with the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and CentreVenture say they are already working on a plan to attract more developers to the area.