Fiji Time: 9:59 AM on Wednesday 28 January

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Changing the mind-set

Fred Wesley
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

THE revelation that the Labasa Chamber of Commerce plans to extend business hours in the Northern town is interesting.

It wants to foster an "exhilarated environment".

Backing the move, bus operators have welcomed the idea, saying the move was one that would benefit everyone.

The proposal was presented at a stakeholders meeting in Labasa on Monday night where chamber president Satish Kumar said it was a way of invigorating an exciting night life in Labasa.

To test how the people of the Northern township will respond to the change, the chamber plans to extend business hours first on Thursday and Friday which it says are busy days.

Business hours will be from 8am to 8pm as opposed to the normal hours of 8am to 6pm.

And if everything goes well, more days would be included in the plan.

Mr Singh said it is designed to bring "about positive changes in Labasa".

"We all know that after 6pm, Labasa Town is usually empty and the night life is not as exciting as Suva, Lautoka and Nadi," he pointed out.

Clearly the plan could receive mixed reactions. However, in the greater scheme of things, the positives could eventually outweigh the negatives.

For starters, there will definitely be a change in mind-set for many people in the Northern town.

They will not have to rush straight home after work.

They will have the opportunity to do some last minute shopping maybe on the way home.

There is the convenience of having access to a pharmacy maybe, being able to visit a loved one at the hospital, shopping at supermarkets and most importantly for a town such as Labasa, public transport.

For sportsmen and women, there is the opportunity to train at sports venues in town and still be able to catch the last bus back home, or hop into a cab.

It means convenience and ease of travel for many people.

It means opportunity for growth in the entertainment industry. It means options for families to entertain themselves and indulge in things they would not normally be able to do given the standard business hours.

Hopefully the plan will stimulate growth in the Labasa economy as the base is set for more foot traffic in town. That should then have a positive ripple effect on business, from the supermarkets, pharmacies, to the restaurants and bread shops and on to the public transport system.

It could nurture investor confidence and when that happens, there is a subsequent positive roll-on effect that screams out employment opportunities. It is going to be a massive undertaking that will no doubt change Labasa.

And everything starts with the teething steps the chamber is prepared to take.

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