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Promoting the downtown area of Welland

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Warning:

When you read the following you may feel insulted. Sorry for that. But I want to help and was also insulted many times when I tried to help to do something for Ontario and our region.
I was not asking for any position. I had offered my services as a volunteer. I even had offered them years ago to the BIA. I offered to create free web sites for all business members of the BIA who did not have one. I never got any response. Maybe I should have offered all that for a fee which consultants charge.
Because the public never became aware of my attempts I am going public now. I spent time for making this presentation and do not want to see it disappearing again in a "black hole"!

Please note:
This is a revised web site. This was done because the first version was written before the BIA meeting took place.
I still want to motivate people who are willing to serve our country and our province by finding ways to secure and improve our living standard. That can only be done in using team work and dedication.
The invitation which I have received from the "Downtown Welland Business Improvement Area" motivated me to my last attempt to provide my suggestions not only to our downtown but even beyond that.
For that reason I put all that on the Internet to spread my ideas beyond downtown Welland. It is mandatory that our region including Welland attract more business with well paid jobs. This would be very beneficial to all the effort of our BIA.

Reason for creating this web site:

The well paid jobs which we lost will not come back. Canada's industry cannot survive by being only an extended work bench for international cooperation. We have to become qualified to do many things here under a good Canadian management.
The Green industry can and should be one part of this task. The high transportation costs of the heavy components should help us to create jobs in our area.
To invest money to produce still more expensive electrical power in our country to create jobs here makes much more sense to me than fighting wars all over the globe to ensure a safe supply of oil.
So far I do not believe that battery powered cars will replace very fast cars with combustion engines. I see a much better and faster way in the wider introduction of vehicles using natural gas mixed with hydrogen and later fuels cells.
The production of hydrogen is certainly a promising way to store excessive produced electric power. One of the pioneers for fuel cells which use hydrogen to convert this gas into electrical power is a Canadian company. We should not give up research. See what happened many years ago to the "Avro Arrow"!
Naturally, the green power shall be produced were it is needed. The Niagara region and its surroundings are a good location for wind parks.
Experience from other countries must be used to avoid mistakes and adequate building codes must be in place.
All the people who are fighting this technology will not create well paid jobs and will not ensure future wealth and allow us to pay off all the debts made in the past.
If you are interested in more detailed information go to: Feasibility Study - The Future of "Green Industry" in Southern Ontario

About me:

I grew up in Germany and worked there as an engineer in the automotive and motorcycle industry as well as in the aerospace industry.
I became a time limited assignment to built up the complete engineering department for s subsidiary of a German helicopter manufacturer in the Niagara Region.
After my assignment ended I returned to Germany but was called back after one year to Canada. My wife is a Canadian and after my retirement we decided to have our own small business in Welland. This was in 1990 as an import/export business. We are still in business.
I am now over 78 years old and my expire date is coming closer. For that reason we have reduced our inventory and I will strengthen now the web design part but also consulting (no more volunteering) with respect to green energy. Germany is one of the leading nations in this field and I am a German engineer and a true Canadian!
As an engineer it was always a challenge to create something new. Another essential task as a manager or director was to streamline our work and increase productivity. It is unbelievable how you can improve productivity by having a motivated team and streamlining and re-organizing the work flow. That is much better than becoming a slave driver.

I want to help:
I love Canada and met many great people here. The country was always good to me. In order to promote tourism between Canada and Germany we created Internet travel guides in German and English using a different concept than the established tourism associations in both countries.
In order to help Welland and especially the downtown area have participated several meetings over the last years. I was completely disappointed and considered the first ones as a waste of time.
I am not looking for any political position and for that reason I am not afraid to say what I think. Lying is not part of my way of life.

What I had offered to Welland and other townships in the Niagara Region:

• In the past I had spent our own money to visit events or attractions in Ontario to show them in our German and English Internet travel guides.

• I had offered to our previous major to help promoting tourism and Welland for free. I did not accept the offer of one of his underlings to work on a parking lot during an event.

• I will not any longer offer this services for free in Ontario. We got free access to real health spas in Thuringia, Germany as return for a free web site and we had been invited as honorable guests to certain events.

• Only for the Marshville Heritage we became free tickets for all three days and we did our part as a thank you for that. Just use the links below to see what we did and how we did the video. We also did web sites in the languages English and German.

Ontario Marshville Heritage Festival



• I also participated in a meeting scheduled by our former major which was going on for three days how to improve downtown Welland. I never received any information about the outcome.

• Unfortunately my experience with Fort Erie and Port Colborne is similar.

• My offer included also to attract investors from Germany to Welland. I did not receive any valuable response or support from Welland.

• I saw a chance in attracting industry related to the "Green Technology". In order to manufacture nacelles for wind turbines modular graphite casting is used as a standard practice. There is not a single company in Canada which is specialized to do this. The nacelles are very heavy and transportation costs are high. Wind parks shall be built were an adequate wind pattern exists and were the produced electrical power is used. Welland could be a suitable place for such a plant.

My conclusions:
• All that was a waste of time

• I never will offer any of my free services again to any town management

• I also will reduce my activities to prepare free web sites even for businesses which I like

• I have the impression that in our province and our region the left hand does not care what the right hand has already done. One example our provincial government went some kind of overboard in spending money for the green industry. The opposition is only listening to the toughest complainers and calls this democracy. DMI, in Stevensville a manufacturer of steel towers for wind turbines had to lay off many people and is now closed. But a Chinese manufacturer will invest in Thorold. Not to mention the plans of a German company who wanted to produce towers using concrete. At the end we may lose everything including tax payers money.

• We should not go overboard with the green industry but every country is investing in it for good reasons. A shame also on the unqualified writers in certain newspapers. Being able to write faster than to think is not a qualification - also not to follow blindly the interests of certain politicians.

My experience with the "Downtown Welland Business Improvement Area":

Despite my experience I was hoping that the business located in the Welland downtown area has finally started to come together to do something to attract visitors to our town in order to improve business.
I believe I had participated years ago in two meetings. They were poorly organized with no outcome and also not worth the time I had spent. Filling out the form to become listed was obviously discarded because our company never showed up in their presentation.
Other business owners shared my judgment and also did not become active members.

My conclusions:
• I do everything what I can do on my own without involving the city management or the BIA. I had informed the very helpful secretary about that.

• As money allows, we will upgrade the appearance of our building. Right now we do not have it.

A new approach from the "Downtown Welland Business Improvement Area":

I was really surprised when I was informed about a new web site of the BIA and was invited to the next meeting as well as to provide suggestions.
In order not to waste time again I visited "Monica's of Welland" and talked to Monica. Many thanks to her for the time which she had spent with me.
I trust her about a new beginning to do something for Welland and its downtown area.
Also many thanks to the students for redesigning the web site. However, I believe that more business oriented guidance should have been provided to them. How can young people know all that? It is important to explain in detail what is needed and why.
As an engineer I loved to work with most students and young engineers. I used their computer skills and they learned the basics of how to do certain jobs. Important was always to explain why certain things have to be done in a specific way and what has to be considered. Computers are an efficient tool when properly used and I learned from them by asking many questions and trying to do use them as much as time allowed it by myself.
Thanks to Monica I provided some inputs and even came to the last meeting.
However, I will not commit myself. I tried to listen, but my hearing is extremely poor. Others can hear very well but some of them do not want to listen!

My suggestions for future actions of the Welland BIA:

To criticize without showing what should be done is polemic. For that reason I show here what I proposed to the BIA in advance of the last meeting. However, I added some updates.
I was pleased about the brainstorming session during the meeting. But I got the feeling that the outcome has been put on the back burner.
I was very disappointed about the poor interest of the downtown business in the meeting. How can BIA attract visitors when they fail to attract the local business? A better presentation of BIA when they send out their invitation could have helped a little bit. But obviously the main reason is the poor track record of achievements (poor contact to the business, raised parking fees, etc.!)

#
Suggestion / Finding
How to do that
Benefits / Remark
1.
It is mandatory to attract more visitors to Welland also during normal business hours.
Glossy brochures already exist. They hopefully can be picked up at certain public places. Internet is much cheaper, more flexible and will reach a wider audience. See #3.
Visitors will need food and refreshments. If the downtown is more visitor friendly certain business shall improve. See #2.

2.

Make downtown more visitor friendly. I was shocked when I was informed about the decision to increase the parking fees. This is the worst thing to do and I am disappointed about the weakness of the BIA!

Just learn from other places in the Niagara Region which scrapped the parking meters.
Use free parking disk similar to those which are used in Europe. They are free and business can use them for advertising. They allow normally 2 hours of free parking which is enough time for a lunch or doing some shopping.


The city can easily save money if they cut down excessive spending for things which will never show a return of the investment. (Ask me if you need help with that!)

Alone the use of free parking disks is something so new that visitors will come just to try it. Other places will follow this possible leadership of Welland.

2.1.

Make downtown look nicer. Many things have already be done and low cost beautification should be one of the tasks. The flower basked are a good beginning but more has to be done.

Vandalism safe seat benches as well a public washrooms shall be installed.
Downtown has to be kept clean. People caught littering must be fined or do some clean up work for the city if they cannot pay. Business shall clean up their store front. In Japan I saw them washing the side walk.

Especially elderly people may need sometimes a rest. Every shopping mall provides that!

2.2

More people should live in downtown.

Built accommodations (preferable condos) for mature people. (Residence for students should be at or close to the Niagara College. Certain rules must be in place there and be controlled. Years ago when we wanted to offer an apartment for students we were told downtown is too far away!
The deserted lot of Atlas Steel could be used if an investor is interested in building a condo. A nice place is the location of the burnt down high school. (Not yet part of the BIA)
Underground parking would require to remove most of the polluted soil.

More people need more amenities. Coffee shops, restaurants, the library and many others are in walking distance.
Independent retail stores may see now a chance for survival.

2.3

More unique retailers, such as Monica's should select downtown for their business.

One mandatory prerequisite is enough time limited free parking space. This and the achieved beautification shall be shown on the Internet without many words. Seeing is the best proof!
Only brain washed people believe still in all the false statements and promises!

People love to wander through the shopping malls because they are protected from the weather. And the free parking.
But attractive and unique stores not been found in malls shall also draw a crowd. See Niagara-on-the-Lake.

2.4

A long term task should be to eliminate the through traffic as it is done in Europe. Many cities have now assigned pedestrian zones. At least East Main Street should not be any longer a one way street and more free and time limited parking spots shall be provided in this area.

Woodlawn Rd. and Prince Charles Drive could be used for the through traffic which does not bring any business to downtown.
A speed limit to 30 km/hour shall be introduced. This will help to reduce or avoid accidents when drivers are distracted. (This was a previous argument of the city against my proposals how to make downtown more attractive! What about people who close their eyes?)

If traffic lights are controlled properly noise and pollution will be reduced and if the bylaws are modernized coffee shops etc. may be able to put tables and umbrellas in front of their business. (See Europe!)

3.

The BIA should become stronger and have more saying about Welland's future.

With all the business which we already have lost the finances of Welland depend more and more from property taxes paid by an aging population and the remaining business.
I personally do not support the excessive spending for a few sports events or for sports complexes for an aging population. We already have so many good things in place and should use what we have. We can always improve them if necessary. People who do not have a record as successful business leaders should not give the directions to business and increase the debts.
The town should not be operated like an empire or like Greece.
We should always look for a good return of our tax money or money which a business has invested.

All business leaders who operated their business successful over the last years have a right to be heard. They know the problems and will use the given chance of being heard.
We have to learn from those who failed and from those who survived.
Compare our city with others! BIA does not get a gift from the town it is our tax payers money and it should be spend right!
Every business can do also little things on its own and certain activities may even be tax deductible.

3.1

The BIA must have more active members to have more power.
I know a few business owners who did not any longer participate in any of the activities.
Good teamwork is mandatory.

After talking to Monica I had the hope that the BIA is on the right track by learning from the errors from the past.
If many people would have come to the actual new meeting it would already have been a small success story. But only a few people showed up! This is a fault of the BIA who missed to convince the downtown business of a new strategy and a new team.
Just talking and finding excuses for not being strong enough is not the way to become successful. The managers of the involved businesses have to find the solutions and have to stand up for them! How can they do this when they do not show any interest because they gave up all hope for a better future?
I also do not believe that the new web site will be of any help as it is right now. Only somebody who does not have a glue how to do a good presentation will consider it to be of any help!
See my advise under #4.

As stronger as the BIA is more it will be heard by the city and its councilors.
More active members will bring more useful ideas. They also may eventually see benefits in improving the appearance and the presentation of their business in the BIA web site.
A good presentation of the objectives and how to achieve them is mandatory.

4.

The new web site (see under "Links") is just the beginning of a good presentation. Further improvements are required.
Especially the downtown business has to be convinced about the benefits to join the BIA as active members. So far the BIA failed even to convince me!
The new web site could also be a good teaching lesson for the volunteer students. They deserve that their involvement will be recognized and that all the time they had spent will not be wasted. Students should be willing to learn! They should be rewarded by a little thank you party!

I will follow the existing structure of the new web site. The following are my comments and suggestions.
I will always explain why certain things shall be changed.
I cannot understand that none of the executives of the present BIA was able to guide the students.
Will the students be committed to do all future web design?
If not a reliable person has to be found.

A better presentation will help to make the activities of the BIA much more trustful. I read already too much propaganda using always general statements without saying anything useful. An up to date web site is an absolute mandatory and cost effective measure.

4.1

Home:
The layout is fine but new tabs will be required.
Text is overlapping with "About Us"
Think about how to avoid these repetitions.

The definition what a BIA is OK but the objectives and tasks should be defined much clearer and be more detailed.
The shown events are already history but showing pictures, videos etc. from these events is a much better promotion for the future.
I would add 2 new sections: "Past Events" and "Upcoming Events". Both sections much with a much more appealing design.

See above.

4.2

About us: This site is almost the same as the site "Home".

Think about how to avoid these repetitions. (I am aware that sometimes you must tell people everything over and over, but not here.)

Does not give a good impression to readers. Who did the first proof reading?
Many words and duplications do not make a good presentation.

4.2.1

Board of Directors should be renamed.

Not everybody listed is a director.
Does BIA really need so many directors? What are their responsibilities?
After renaming and adding for what everybody is responsible it should be ok.

An essential information for potential active members and people interested to join.

4.2.2

Downtown BIA Area & Boundaries.

Learn from Google Maps and allow to enlarge the map for printing or better viewing.
Maps which you can not read are useless!

That will allow BIA members to think about expanding the area which will be necessary in the future.

4.2.3

Financial:
Dead links to the PDF files.

This has to be fixed.
I would also add the information which I received from Monica about where the money comes from, how much and weather BIA can rely on it. We are not Greece!
In order to achieve more important improvements of downtown by further possible activities the financial basis has to be known.

I think many potential active members are interested to see all that.
I also believe that every business owner should also do certain things on his own.
It is not the responsibility of tax payers to subsidize individual businesses.
The city is responsible to create a business friendly environment before they squeeze money out of it.

4.2.4

Governance:
Again a dead link to the "Business Improvement Area Handbook"

Do we really need that? Without knowing it I cannot judge. Who wrote it? Who wants to teach a business owner business?

Without knowing the content of the handbook I can not see any benefit in having it.
The main objective is making Welland better known and more attractive in order to fuel business in downtown.

4.2.5

Minutes & Agendas
Only one agenda?

Agendas should be published before a planned meeting to allow visitors to be prepared and be able to decide to come or to do something else.
The meeting must also follow the agenda. I was only in two meetings and one of them did not follow the agenda!
Are questions from "Indians" allowed or do we only have the right to listen? What are the rules?
Answers required!

Only interested people would come. No business owner has time to waste!
Participating board members shall be identified with a name plate to be able to approach them later hen required.

5.

For Sale or Rent/Lease Listings:
The big mouthed statement "Are you looking to move your business to the Downtown Welland area? The listings here will give you the information you need to make that move. Please contact the broker named in the listing for further information." is not only a lie it is also stupid. (sorry - that is my best definition)

It is certainly mandatory to attract investors. This cannot be done only with empty words and no content.
Many more details including pictures have to be provided as well as helpful descriptions including applicable taxes etc. Recommended use of the property considering what we need could help to attract and investors.
Nobody will be interested by the poor presentation in the web site.
I would treat real estate in the same way as any other business. It should be integrated in the improved database. Does the real estate business not know things like that? Or are they not dedicated to the BIA?

If an appealing presentation is in place the Realtors may get some feed back.
An improved database (see #10 and "Links") allows easy and fast changes and updates.

5.1

Properties For Sale:

See above

See above

5.2

Properties For Lease:

See above
The heading should be changed to "Lease"

See above

6.

Events:
Again a repetition of events which already have taken place.
The links to existing web sites are a good feature.

As mentioned above under #4.1 of my proposal some of the web sites are not exactly the coldest beer in the fridge but BIA has to live with them.
To state "Welland - Flatwater Capital of Canada" is again only stupid propaganda. (I learned much about this during WWII in Germany)
Is BIA forced to write things like that. It will not help the credibility of this organization.
Have you ever been in St. Catharines? Their facilities look much better.

I hope these events will attract people to Welland and our downtown will benefit of them.
I have serious doubts that the spent money will be returned to pay the debts related to some of them .

7.

Gallery:
The statement "Click an image to expand a gallery" is misleading. It is only an old fashioned way to display a larger image.
I show in my web sites almost only large images. Internet is now much faster than over a decade ago!

I am aware that "Galleries" are still used in many web sites.
They are not exactly user friendly and visitors may not even click through them.
I suggest to use more appealing slide shows with royalty free music and some written information or spoken text.

I learned that people like those presentations and I have good experience with hits by using YouTube.

8.

For members:
I learned by talking to Monica that we are still a member because our business is located in the designated area.
I remember that I had filled out the form years ago to become listed which never happened.

Monica's statement should be on the web site. Then everybody who lives in the designated area can check if he is a member or not and can sign in if he wants to do so.
A certain quality standard should be mandatory for a listing. I believe even the "Yellow Pages" provide better information.
Not using the features which Internet offers is an unforgivable mistake.
I am almost 78 years old and use them.

A better presentation has a better success rate!
Don't waste time or money for useless things. Have always the requirements of the respective business and the benefits for Welland in mind.

9.

Contact:

No changes required. It is good that you allow also to send just an e-mail. I appreciate the use of the Google Map.

An updated web site may help for a better recognition of the BIA and also create more productive response.

10.

Business Directory:
Monica was very proud of this part and the database. She was hurt when I told her that I do not like it because it is almost useless.
It does not use the features which a database offers. As a result the search function does not make any sense and does not even work.

A good data base is one of the most essential features which should be used in the Internet.
Always being short on money and not even being a programmer I was able to convert a free shopping cart not only to use it for my German online shopping but also as a data base.
I just updated all my tourism related databases. Just use the link installed in the right column to see my concept of a database.
The following are only the main features:
• Use categories as the students did.
• When you open a category a listing should appear with a brief description with the most important information, an image and a link to the website which will open in a new window. The description contains the important key words to allow a search.
• For a business who does not have a web site more information may be required in the listing.

All that is very simple and easy to change.
A good database is very customer friendly.
For future use I even included already not used categories but marked them clearly as being not active. I did this to show businesses which have not yet been listed that we are waiting for them. BIA should do it in the same way to get more members listed and involved in all activities.

Please be aware:

My English site about Ontario was only created because of the demand of not German speaking visitors of my German Internet travel guide which still covers more of our province.
They liked the concept but the translation programs which they used was very faulty.
Not long ago I started to create slide shows with video clips and little or no talking. Most of them will be understood by most people.

Welland, Ontario, Slide Show


Dain City, Welland, impressions, slide show


Niagara Region, Ontario, Impressionen, impressions



Café Amalia, Welland, Ontario - a great meeting place


Niagara Parkway, Kanada, Canada Tourismus, tourism


Impressionen einer Tour entlang dem Welland Canal. Impressions of a tour along the Welland Canal.


Portfolio of a few English Web Sites
searchable database for Ontario
Visit the province of Ontario in Canada
Visit and explore Newfoundland-Labrador
Visit Thuringia in Germany
ice fishing in Ontario
Beautiful housekeeping cottages close to Bruce Mines in Algoma Country
Christian Camp Kahquah of the BIC church
See the Christmas  drive through at the BIC church in Welland, Ontario
our sugar bush adventure
Many thanks to Pat Pagaono for allowing use to use his music
events, celebration in Ontario
annual Rose Parade in Welland, Ontario
Byng Island, conservation area, Dunnville, Grand River, outdoor pool, camping, fishing, boating
Welland Brethren in Christ Church, fundraiser, jamboree
Happy Rolph's bird sanctuary and petting farm
Balls Falls, still a hidden treasure in the Niagara Region
A sightseeing tour along the Grand River
butterfly conservatory in Niagara Falls Canada
a tour along the northern shore of Lake Erie
Rock Point Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Erie
Selkirk Provincial Park on Lake Erie
dragon boat regatta, event
share our experine about cottage vacations on Lake Nipissing, tourism, travel guide
Point Pelee, National Park
Susan's Villa, b & b, Niagara falls, Ontario, Canada, close to Falls, suites
Susan's retreat, efficiency units, apartment, suite, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
annual Rose Parade in Welland, Ontario
Café Amalia, Welland, Italian coffee shop, gelato, sndwiches and much more
Lily's cuisine, Chinese and Canadian food, Welland, Ontario
Meister's Sweets, German pastry and coffee shop in Crystal Beach
butterfly conservatory in Niagara Falls Canada
Impressions, encounters, Ontario
professional web design in the languages German and English
Powwow, Pow Wow, Fort Erie, Ontario, native people, event
Old Fort Erie, tourism, travel guide
The siege of Fort Erie, don't miss this spectacular event
Fort George, Niagara on the Lake
Shopping tips
wine tasting at Pittilleri in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Visit the Heritage Festival in Marshville, Wainfleet, Ontario
little adventurse at the Niagara River, Whirlpool aero car, hiking in the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve
Military Museum in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Tourism
Canal days in Port Colborne, Don't miss this event!