It increasingly baffles me when the humbug comes out in a community and when it starts from the top of the tree all the way down to the very roots. I read a story that has been ongoing for years of the community of Whitstable. A thriving small fishing town that is now a haven to large volumes of tourists and second home buyers. Located just 62 miles from the city of London and within 6 miles of the cathedral city of Canterbury.
Many years ago, the local council located in the small city of Canterbury (which is the regional government for this particular town) decided to not supply festive lights along the main shopping streets of the town. In effect making the town dark for Christmas. Following this a local community chamber of commerce it would seem stepped into the frame and realising the damage that could occur to local businesses and the image of the town had an agreement with the council (of which it would also seem the council did a little dirty deed as well, as not everything was as it should have been). Anyway, cutting a long story short the organisation just has not got the funding this year to re-wire and install the Festive lights. Now for the good part.
Now what is sad about all this is that kindness and giving pleasure has an underlying effect on business and community spirit. If you are a retail business, you rely on the extra festive spirit that spreads thrown our veins and you rely on the extra footfall. As a business community you rely on the town being positive too and you also rely categorically on this if you are a second home buyer in the area as so many seem to be as this retains the value of your property and you also definitely rely on this if you have a tourism business associated with the town, be it a holiday rental, a B & B, hotel, bar, restaurant, gift shop and so much more. It is a web of interconnections.
Apparently, the chamber of commerce of Whitstable has been asking the local community (i.e. the everyday folk) to contribute and has seen very little in return. This is natural as you would expect, they are the benefits of the light display and it is them after all that are the future customers for all the individual interconnected businesses. So, they should not really be hassled for too much giving but should, on the other hand, be offered the opportunity.
Logic would say the local government should again bring this in the house somewhat as they benefit from the taxation and success of the local community in relation to revenue. Secondly, all the businesses in relation to tourism, retail and other inter-connected businesses should donate a small sum of money, no more than $100 to $200 dollars that would solve the issue.
Greed is a terrible thing, and it is this time of year you get to see a true community and how it responds, I am particularly shocked by this story because it is where I was born, and grew up so I have a more local view on things but also because I am very fortunate to see a lot of festive spirit around the world as I travel on business and I really am shocked at how such a community really does have huge failings of this nature. It is a forced economy how the local government and the local businesses are behaving and clearly, a narrowminded oversight of all involved no matter how good intentions are in planning this.
It truly saddens me to know this is a developing story and I feel for the losers in this situation not the businesses, but the children, the families that are left to experience a humbug. Why would anyone want to support the local businesses if this is how they contribute back to the town? Never the less I am categorically sure a few small businesses will be festive and try the very best, I know that a small ice cream and gift parlour called Sundae Sundae will certainly be trying its hardest and I wish them the best.
There are ways the town could fund this through crowdfunding and other methods and I wish them the best, however they have left this very late this could have been done some months ago.
Enjoy reading more here: http://www.whitstablechamber.org/christmas-lights/