Parting words From the Downtown Association Manager

4

When an opportunity came along for Duane Moleni he jumped at it.  Moleni announced last week via social media that he was leaving his position as Manager of the Queenstown Business Improvement Area for a new position in Red Deer Alberta. He leaves next week.

“I didn’t go looking for it”, Moleni told SaultOnline.com, “it was an opportunity for me to advance my career.

Moleni stepped into the position of the troubled downtown association last April, soon after there was a push from certain downtown businesses to disband the association. The move eventually led to a vote of the local business owners , but at the end of the day the vote was in favour of keeping the association and working better with the stakeholders.

Moleni’s resignation is bittersweet, “I’m leaving on good terms with the board”, though he is saddened that he wasn’t able to implement the direction he wanted the board to go.

Moleni, who came to the Sault from New Zealand 10 years ago to head up the New to the Sault program at the Sault Community Career Centre, acknowledges that there is much more work to do with the downtown.

Most of the future problems facing the downtown association will be up to the new board that will be elected in June, he says the new board will pick his successor.

The transitional board however have approved a budget of $20,000 to bring back some of the events postponed last year such as the Summer Street Festival.

Moleni believes the Sault isn’t doing enough to promote itself and the fact that it is a Winter City. “We’re not a destination” Moleni said, “come the end of Fall the public work crews are removing the flower boxes and giving the impression, it’s over until Spring”

Moleni says the City isn’t serious enough about change, posting this message on Facebook.

“It is in the same spot it was when I arrived here in 2006. Until it is ready to ask the tough questions, and more importantly, ready to hear the harsh realities, and do the tough work that is required to change, this city will continue to lose out to other cities.”

“You have to be able to try different things , pointing out Timmins Ontario for example, I think on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, they make the downtown a pedestrian mall, eliminating the vehicles.”

Paid parking has always been a contentious issue with the public, though Moleni doesn’t see paid parking as a deterrent. “People like to drive up to the store they are going to and step inside, they like that convenience , in other city’s like Toronto you have to pay”  Though he does point out that malls and big box outlets provide free parking.

He applauds the idea of moving more residents downtown to make it more inviting for people  but points out that the board still does not have a concrete plan to move forward. He blames the city for rehashing old ideas with the same people and not moving forward to implement any changes, basically the city is spinning its wheels and not getting anywhere.   “Isn’t this the pure definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Why aren’t we tapping and supporting and developing those who are creating change”, Moleni said.

Moleni said he hopes to visit the Sault again and when he does he wants to see some big changes in the downtown.

 

 

 

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, the three of the Sault’s most ignorant all on on the same page. Too bad you guys weren’t the ones leaving, it’d be better for all of us.

    Duane – best of luck. Thanks for the truthful words – unfortunately they too true.

  2. This City is stuck in really bad groove.Rehashing old ideas with the same dummies.

    What needs to be done is remove the trees and create more parking for an aging population.Also allow sidewalk patios for local restaurants and bars.Downtown association should invest in trolley cars during spring summer (the ones with tires) to run from the Canal Area to Bellevue Park stopping at the Station Mall, Bush-plane Museum etc.
    Winter Time promoting Snow train ,Bon Soo and Events that are under promoted.An Example of this was the recent George Canyon tour through town which had a a very poor promotion .It was only or seems to be promoted on a sign at the Grand Theatre after it was over.
    This City has great potential .What is lacks is advertising its great outdoors paradise.Then again this city shoots its self in the foot by rehashing old ideas with the same dummies.
    Maybe it is time to listen to the youth,seniors and those from out of town who have experience of witnessing or doing great advertising and promotions.

  3. There’s an old saying that goes ” when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. There’s also another saying, ” if things get too hot, stay out of the kitchen”. In this case, the” not so tough” is getting going…………right out of town. Good move. And I certainly hope that the kitchen is not too hot for Duane out there in Red Dear Alberta. Otherwise, Duane may continue going westward, searching for whatever he’s searching for, right back to where he came from in New Zealand. Just a thought folks that crossed my mind this afternoon on this topic. I’m quite sure this City will survive. Ciao……………….

  4. Adios, don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.
    If/when you return, the Sault will be a ghost town with tumbleweed blowing down Queen street.

Comments are closed.