Edmonton election: Local businesses hope for change with new council

Morgan Kunitz is the co-owner of Kunitz Shoes in Edmonton. Her store has seen business improve after moving to the West End, but she wishes they could have been able to keep their store front downtown.

“We operated a store in the downtown core for 18 years… It was heart wrenching (to leave),” Kunitz said.

“We really believed downtown Edmonton was on to something and that it was really building, and developing. There was a lot of excitement that happened, but there wasn’t actually much delivery on that.”

“We would be next to professional businesses, dental services, there is no other draw to our area with those businesses,” Kunitz said.

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Kunitz said they love their new location. It’s accessible for pedestrians, transit users and drivers. She hopes the new city council will take notes to other areas in the city, and from other cities to improve downtown.

“Stop reinventing the wheel. Go to other cities that are already doing this. Edmonton has this obsession with starting everything fresh and new, and so many cities are already doing this successfully. Go look — copy them.”

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The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce hosted a mayoral forum Thursday, with five of the 10 candidates focusing mostly on the business sector. Touching on topics like how transit affects businesses, how to set up Edmonton for economic success and what they would do support revitalization and recovery.

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Chamber president Jeffrey Sundquist said he appreciates the clear visions from the candidates, and he hopes the next council will help keep Edmonton competitive.

“The business community is wanting to partner with city council and keeping Edmonton and the Edmonton region competitive. Businesses here need to be competitive, Edmonton needs to be competitive and that comes in many different shape and sizes,” Sundquist said.

“Many businesses are very keen on learning how the priorities of the specific individuals are going to impact their business and the broader business community.”

Advanced voting for the municipal election has already started, election day is October 18.

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