ECA Review Reporter
Castor is a ‘friendly’ town with a need for improvement, according to a report submitted to council.
Representatives from the town of Killam were in Castor in September as part of the AUMA’s ‘First Impressions Community Exchange’ program, which matches similar communities to perform surprise ‘inspections’ on each other, in order to get a sense of how outsiders might view their community.
The report from the visit was presented to Castor town council on Monday, October 22.
A team of three from Killam, including members from Killam town council, visited Castor on Thursday, September 6. The tour consisted of an evaluation of the town’s road entrances, a driving tour of the town, and a hands-on ‘walking tour’ of downtown.
While impressions were generally positive, the reviewers found several issues with the businesses in downtown Castor.
According to the report, many businesses were described as ‘unappealing’, ‘run down’ and in need of attention. Many businesses lacked proper signage, which made the reviewers unsure of what the business was. In at least one case, one business was described as having ‘too much signage’, which gave it a busy, cluttered look.
The reviewers said that they didn’t get a sense of ‘pride of ownership’ from the business owners downtown.
On the positive side, the reviewers noted that Castor was a very busy town with a lot of active businesses, especially in the industrial areas. They noted that the town contained a lot of green areas, walking paths and ponds. They also found the roads to be in good shape, felt the street banners added a ‘welcoming touch’ to the community, and credited the schools and hospital to be well maintained. They also enjoyed the smell of fresh baking, which permeated downtown for much of the morning of the visit.
Councillor Mike Bain stated that the report was a valuable tool to determine where the community needs to set its priorities.
“It gives us as a town ideas of what we’re missing,” Bain said. He also wanted every business in Castor to get a copy of the report.
“My question is, where do we go from here?” asked Councillor Jeff Ensign.
Castor Town Council will be hosting an open house to discuss the issues raised in the report, which will be held on Friday, December 7.