Summerside planning to 'regrow and reinvent' downtown core

'In order to have success in a downtown you need people to live there first,' says Summerside Mayor Dan Kutcher. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC - image credit)
'In order to have success in a downtown you need people to live there first,' says Summerside Mayor Dan Kutcher. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC - image credit)

Summerside's incoming mayor says he wants to connect Water Street with the city's waterfront in an effort to revitalize the city's downtown.

Dan Kutcher says downtowns are changing, and are no longer the financial hubs of many cities. In Summerside, two financial institutions are leaving the downtown. After 30 years, National Bank shut down its location on Water Street and moved uptown. Scotiabank is planning to relocate to Granville Street, in the city's north end.

"We've created effectively a secondary downtown competing with our own downtown and our waterfront and Spinnakers' Landing is really focused on tourists while our Water Street is still trying to focus on our local community. And fundamentally, I believe that what you want to do is to connect those two assets so that they support each other so they both succeed."

Kucher said it's important to have more people living downtown.

"In order to have success in a downtown you need people to live there first. You need people to work there and then when you have places where people live and work your business will follow."

Downtown Summerside Inc. said in a statement to CBC News that the loss of the financial institutions downtown will not impede the success of the city's core.

"Our downtowns are far from dying. Demand for business space is not evaporating," it said. "The shifts we see from the moving of the financial institutions outside the downtown core will bring more opportunities for new businesses and services. What is important now is to grasp these opportunities to reinvest, revitalize, regrow and reinvent our downtown."