I have to say that I am delighted with the formation of the new 'Waterford Independent Traders' Group to represent the interests of some of the small businesses in the city, as reported in this weeks local newspapers. It is great that the retail community is getting active and it will be interesting to see what this group will bring to the table.
I have spoken in the past about the need for some retailers to invest more in their premises in Waterford City. We have policies in our Development Plan protecting the primacy of the City Centre but that policy in under increasing pressure from attempts by neighbouring authorities to undermine our core shopping offering. The stronger the City is, the more we will be able to resist those pressures.
The City Council has invested heavily in the award-winning urban design of Waterford and in promoting the City as a destination for shopping as well as trying to attract new shopping investment and anchor tenants who would underpin the shopping offering available here. I hope that this new retail group will become as active as the very active Retail Committee of the Chamber of Commerce which has always been a very constructive force for the betterment of the city.
Perhaps those amongst this group who are owners of premises might look at the provision of larger (circa. 1,000 sq metre) units which are totally missing in Waterford. Investment in promotion of the city at key times of the year including Christmas and the summer is also key. The retailers are perfectly placed to offer incentives to attract shoppers to Waterford which will of course benefit their own bottom line. Any action is to be welcomed. After all we are all on the same side, promoting our wonderful city and working together to overcome these difficult times.