The City of Lacombe is asking locals to share their shopping habits.
From now until Aug. 15th, the City of Lacombe is conducting a retail survey to collect information from residents in an effort to assess the local shopping climate.
Josh de Jong (pronounced de Young), planning intern for the City of Lacombe, said so far, response to the survey has been fairly enthusiastic and the survey has already received about 980 responses.
“It’s a hot topic,” said de Jong. “People are passionate about retail and they want to see their needs met.”
According to de Jong, the survey is not an opinion survey or a way for residents to tell the City what kinds of retailers they would like to see in Lacombe.
He said the City already has a fairly clear idea of those things through a comprehensive community consultation process done in relation to the Municipal Sustainability Plan (MSP). Instead, it is designed more to give the City an idea of customers habits.
Things like where shoppers are traveling to and from as well as how much money is spent are looked at in the survey.
“We just want a better idea of where people shop and where they think there might be some gaps, without getting into the specifics of exactly what they would like to see.”
Once all the data from the survey is collected, the City hopes it will be helpful to those wishing to open or expand businesses in Lacombe. de Jong said while the City can only do so much in terms of attracting businesses to the community, the City wants to provide as many tools as possible to those who do wish to set up shop here. “We’re open for business, we want businesses to come here. We want to be as welcoming as we can and we want to make it really easy to start a business in Lacombe.”
de Jong said the survey will also help with the drafting of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). While the MDP will not mandate what commercial enterprises can set up in Lacombe or how they operate, it does offer guidelines with regards to retailers, like which areas of the City might fit best for what kinds of businesses.
The MDP is an over-arching document that contains policies all of the City’s other planning policies and bylaws (for example, the land use bylaw) need to meet.
de Jong said the retail survey should provide information useful to the MDP, like making sure the City has proper land stock to facilitate businesses that may come to Lacombe.
The survey is online at www.lacombe.ca. It can also be filled out in person by visiting City Hall.