By Peter Strachan, chairman of Inverness Business Improvement District (BID)
Chairing last week’s Inverness BID board I was heartened by the optimism around the table. Members were reporting encouraging signs and looking forward to the return of both more locals and visitors. There is evidence that “staycations” will continue and Invergordon’s cruise programme is a boost for footfall after a two year absence.
But even though easing of restrictions is acknowledged, businesses need a rapid return to “business as normal” to realise our ambition of a vibrant city. Throughout the pandemic, BID has worked tirelessly for businesses from marketing campaigns to helping traders access support mechanisms. City centre businesses have been finding it tough and, like every other city in Scotland, government support has fallen short of closing the gap.
Whilst it was BID’s first board meeting this year, it was the last for BID manager Mike Smith, retiring after almost 12 years. Mike leaves a huge legacy of improvements and his advocacy for city businesses and Inverness is unparalleled. We wish him well and are delighted he’ll be staying around in an advisory role. His wise counsel will be appreciated.
Taking over is Mike Evans, who joins BID this week and has extensive business experience in multinational and local organisations and has served on the boards of NHS Highland and the Port of Cromarty Firth.