Pop Star #1 – Neil Pringle

April 6th, 2018 – Neil Pringle (Left) of Pringle Brothers Construction presents a cheque sponsoring the Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Program to Kim Smalridge (BIA Director) and Shulamit Ber Levtov of Compassionate Support for Stressful Times

I’m very grateful to the Pop-Up Shop program that helped me move into my first full-time and independent office space. This enabled me to expand from a one-person show to a clinic that can better serve my community. Also, the exposure my clinic has received as the result of my participation in the program was priceless. – Shulamit Ber Levtov, Owner, Compassionate Support in Stressful Times

Based on the positive results in 2017 , the Board of Management of the Old Town Kemptville BIA approved the Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Program as a permanent program of the BIA and funds were provided for it in the 2018 Operating Budget. In May of 2018 Council cut funding for the Program

Excerpts from  an Editorial written by Neil Pringle and published over a year ago in the North Grenville Times (March 8th, 2017):

” . . .  Council has paid a lot of lip service to the idea of re-vitalizing the old town core of its community, and, indeed, a few years ago they tore up Prescott Street for a year to beautify it, which inadvertently crippled many of the businesses there. Yes, the street looks much better without the powerlines, and the tiny park on the corner of Prescott and Clothier is beautiful, but without real support for the people trying to compete with the corporations we begged to come in, these efforts are wasted. There’s lots of talk about being a family-oriented, unique community that blends modern convenience and old-town charm, but when the chips are down, the support from council is conspicuously absent. Shame on you, council.

Unfortunately, I can do nothing about the Starbucks, except vow to never, ever, ever spend $5 on a coffee there. I can do something to help the BIA, however, and so I put this challenge forward to you, my fellow residents and business owners in North Grenville. I will pledge $500 of my own hard-earned money to this pop-up store initiative, and I challenge each of you to make a real effort to support the local businesses here, by attending the events that are held in Old Town, and shopping there regularly, even when there’s no event going on, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee, where the profits from the coffee don’t go to Seattle. You see, I’ve made points about the lack of vision and leadership by town council, but the other half of the problem is us. It’s easy to point fingers or wish things were different, but if each of us doesn’t make an effort and support our local businesses, they will continue to disappear until there’s absolutely nothing unique about Kemptville, and it becomes another Kanata, Barrhaven, or any other faceless suburb.. . . “


A full 2017 Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Evaluation Report is available for download

Downtown Revitalization Phase Two?

This January the provincial government announced they were investing up to $26 million into rural downtown revitalization. Through the Main Street Revitalization Initiative, municipalities can fund projects that will support and benefit small businesses, such as signage, parking, trails, streetscape improvement and marketing plan implementation including business attraction activities and special events. North Grenville qualifies for $52,198.96 worth of funding (over twice the annual BIA budget !).

This all seems like very good news for Downtown Kemptville and the efforts to continue its revitalization. However, due to the upcoming elections, Municipal governments are required to sign a funding agreement as soon as possible and indicate how these one-time funds are to be spent. Staff recommendations are to be presented the Committee of the Whole on April 16th. Not much time to consult with stakeholders and develop a plan.

Luckily the BIA enjoys a close relationship with the Municipality. We are, after all, a Committee of Council, so when the news hit regarding this opportunity we were already in contact with the Economic Development Department and they attended our February Board of Management meeting to brief us and to consult.

On March 21st, the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area Board of Management passed the following: “Be it resolved that three ideas to be presented to the Municipality regarding use of the Main Street Revitalization Funds: 1) Parking as a priority for the downtown; 2) Development of a downtown website; and 3) Accessibility for challenged people to the Rotary Park area”. If Council agrees then these ideas must be developed and costed in short order.

The BIA has been very active over the past year in advocating for improved parking to meet current and future needs downtown. A request to identify and create additional off-street parking was included in the BIA’s deputation to Council during their budget deliberations in the fall of 2017. In 2010 the Municipality conducted a Downtown Kemptville Commercial Area Parking Study and then two years later a Strategic Action Plan was written based on that study. It identified a number of recommendations to manage demand, improve supply and promote alternatives. One of the “long term” (2020 and beyond) recommendations contained in the 2012 Strategic Action Plan was: “That the Municipality acquires another large public lot in the downtown commercial area”.

If we encourage people to shop, dine and explore Downtown Kemptville, we need to provide them with enough adequate parking. This continues to be a common complaint among downtown merchants and customers alike. The question, as always, is where is the money going to come from? With the recent announcement about the Main Street Revitalization Initiative, we might just have the beginning of an answer.