By Brett Bullen 
BELLEVILLE – Bay of Quinte entrepreneurs will be fighting over premium real estate on Belleville’s waterfront this summer.
Belleville city council agreed Monday night to use prime waterfront locations in Victoria and Jane Forrester parks to set up four new pop-up shops that will be used as storefronts for seasonal businesses.
The Pop-Up Project was unanimously approved tonight by Belleville Council. Look for an RFP shortly and some great waterfront activation on our multi-million-dollar #Belleville  waterfront this summer! #bellevilleontario  #bayofquinte  pic.twitter.com/qx9ZZkiT9g 
— Ryan Williams (@Ryan_r_Williams) January 15, 2019 
“We have incredible waterfront space that allows entrepreneurs to set up shops for waterfront and trail businesses, whether that’s kayaks, standup paddleboarding or bike rentals, storefronts, or horse-drawn carriage tours,” Mayor Mitch Panciuk said in a press release Monday night after council’s vote.
The project is set to begin as early as the Victoria Day long weekend in May. The plan is to have two shops in each of Jane Forrester and Victoria Park, operating until the fall. The shops would each be 10 feet by 10 feet in size.
Jill Raycroft, the head of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, says she thinks the pop-up shops are a great option for existing Belleville businesses to build on their footprint.
“I see existing businesses taking advantage of it – in the very best way. It’s an opportunity to leverage what they have in the community and extend that to where people want to use it,” she told QNet News.
Karen Poste, the city’s manager of economic development, said she hopes new entrepreneurs can take the summer opportunity to establish a brand that can grow to a year-round business.
“The discussion all along is that these pop-up shops can act as an incubator or activator for a new business,” Poste said Tuesday. They can “get established, get a clientele going, and then, as things grow and expand, they will need a permanent year-round location.”
Raycroft said she sees the Belleville’s current lack of an established brand as an opportunity for a new entrepreneur to succeed in one of these locations: “People will come in and ask for a Belleville T-shirt, and we don’t really have any branding around our city and our community. We don’t even have postcards.”
The May start date means entrepreneurs looking to secure one of the storefronts will need to have proposals ready by February in order to have enough time to be ready by the summer. The criteria for selection are still being decided.
“We have the next month to develop the criteria, the request-for-proposal package, that will go out to business,” Poste said. “Along with that we will be sending out the criteria for how we judge the proposals.”
Details on the application process will be released on the city’s social media and website over the next couple weeks as they are decided, she said.
There is also a plan for Phase 2 of the project for next year. Poste said there could be more shops, though she added that could not give an exact number.