EDITORIAL: Big-box stores are not the enemy
Only in the rigid mind of rookie Kamloops Coun. Donovan Cavers could a $35 break to a multi-million-dollar corporation be defined as a “free pass.”
Cavers was referring to a city staff plan, which would see businesses with more than one licence — for example, a grocery store with a gas bar — receive a discount of about $35 on its second licence.
That would mean companies such as Costco, Safeway and Real Canadian Superstore would get a bit of a break at city hall’s business-licence counter.
Thankfully, Cavers was the lone city councillor to oppose this perfectly rational decision.
The discount means absolutely little in a practical sense to any of the three stores, or to any other person or company with multiple business licences in Kamloops.
What it does do is show existing businesses that city hall has staff that are proactive in doing what they can — however small that may be — to demonstrate Kamloops is cognizant of the cost of doing business.
It’s the gesture that matters, to businesses already in Kamloops and to firms contemplating a move here.
That is something Cavers does not understand when he takes the “shop local” mantra to annoying extremes.
Cavers said the bylaw tweak appeared to him to be a way to “promote big-box stores.”
He then reminded one and all that he is a “supporter of small businesses like we find on Victoria Street and within the downtown core.”
To patronize independent stores anywhere in Kamloops is laudable, but one can do so without projecting hostility to large corporations that employ untold numbers of Kamloopsians, contribute mightily to this city’s tax base and offer those on the financial edge affordable goods.
Cavers needs to be reminded he is a city councillor for all of Kamloops — not just non-corporate Kamloops.
Walmart and Costco and Superstore are not evil, despite Cavers’ incessant insistence.
They are important cogs in the local economy and can — indeed, do — exist in lockstep with those mom-and-pop stores our neophyte politician so loves to visit.