Uptown Saint John Inc Executive Director Nancy Tissington (File Image)

A recent report commissioned by six of Canada’s largest cities is suggesting the threat of urban decay is real. The city centres have been hit by significant drops in the number of office workers and university students as well as a significant drop in tourism.

But the Executive Director of Uptown Saint John Inc says our uptown area has been defying the odds. Nancy Tissington says businesses have adapted by quickly moving to online shopping – restaurants using online delivery services – and adjusting inventory levels.

Tissington also says people in this region have been better at complying with COVID guidelines leading to generally less severe restrictions since the original lockdown last year. And she says new developments especially in the city centre have created a momentum along with at least four new businesses opening in the uptown. But Tissington says there is still a fear about how many workers will actually return to uptown offices on a permanent basis.

Tissington says the pause in cruise ship tourism is offering an opportunity to look at how we can improve on what we offer cruise visitors and other tourists as well as looking at new opportunities for tourists and locals. As far as festivals and other events – Tissington thinks this summer will be soft – she sees an uptick in the use of outdoor patios – more picnic tables in open areas of the city centre. She says people are looking for safe spaces to spend time outside – and – the city centre has lots of spaces like King’s Square to enjoy.

You can watch the complete interview with Nancy Tissington of Uptown Saint John Inc here.