Board of Director’s Meeting – Minutes
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Location: online 6:30 p.m.
Attendees: Eric Chabot (EC), Margaret Lara (ML), Kristina Tesser Derksen (KTD), Colin Best (CB), Sara Bergsma
(SB), Miguel Gonsalves (MG), Rachel Shuttleworth (RS)
Regrets: Alan Cooke (AC), Joe Taglieri (JT)
Guest: Eric Parris
EC called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.
EC asked the board if there was any declaration of pecuniary interest or conflict of interest. None were made.
Review of previous minutes
- MG moved to accept February minutes. SB seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- CB moved to ratify the HR policy e-vote. SB seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Expenses 16k for February, consistent with prior month.
- 3% of budget has been used.
- Need to pay back some of the Canada Summer Jobs Grant from last year.
- RS – Got funding for two students last year, but we retained the employee from the first period instead of hiring a different person, so couldn’t use the second grant.
- OBIAA conference costs are included in the expenses.
- CB moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Council approved Economic Develop Strategy.
- Seasonal patio program is going ahead (April 16 to October 31 for public property patios). Allows restaurants to expand capacity, assists with pandemic recovery.
- Council approved policies for mobility hub around the Go Station, working to make that area a complete community (accessible, walkable, complementing historic downtown).
- On March 21, province lifting mask mandate, but still encouraged to wear masks. Updates at Halton.ca.
- Bronte Street North construction – Watermain work delayed, extended to end of April. Bronte will be closed most of the year which means more traffic downtown.
- Regional Official Plan Review – April 13 for public meeting, June 15 for final vote. Looking at no boundary expansion, more density in current areas. Whole economy has changed due to COVID, CB requested review of plan in five years.
- SB moved to accept the Council Reports. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Executive Director’s Report
- SP has resigned. Will be posting to fill the Marketing and Administration Assistant as soon as possible, possible link to Canada Summer Jobs but not critical. Will do an exit interview prior to her leaving.
- Thank you to AC for encouraging us to conduct a member survey.
- 73 responses (a third of membership)
- Strategic priorities ranked as follows: 1. Promotions (social media, events, marketing), 2. Beautification, 3. Attraction of new businesses, 4. Advocacy
- What they like about BIA – Communication (newsletters), events, beautification, in-person outreach
- What they dislike about BIA – Some businesses get more exposure than others, want more in-person networking with other members, lack of parking
- Greatest opportunities for downtown – More events, better business mix, unique character and atmosphere of downtown, marketing and exposure, building & development
- Greatest threats – Lack of parking, public health restrictions, decline in foot traffic, costs (taxes, rent), poorly maintained storefronts & sidewalks, growth focused outside downtown
- Safety – Over 70% said downtown feels safe. Speeding, traffic and road safety primary concerns. Some concerns around safety at night and crime and break-ins.
- Top business priorities for members – Growth, build/support community, promote business, property and space improvements
- How members want BIA to support these goals – Marketing and promotions (top score), events and activities, increase foot traffic, connections between members, etc.
- Top scoring events – Street Festival, HolidayFest, Farmers’ Market on Main Street
- Lowest scoring events – Farmers’ Market at Fairgrounds. Members said Easter Egg Hunt and Tiny Tots ok but can be expensive and don’t generate much sales.
- Several people expressed interest in exploring a board position.
- CB – Lots of parking on Mary Street, more signage might be needed. Suggest having members remind their staff to park behind buildings and let customers park on Main.
- MG – This info will be useful as we decide what areas to refocus on or not.
- Reconnect Ontario 2022 – Applied for HolidayFest 2022.
- Canada Summer Jobs – Applied for two positions for 2022.
- My Main Street – Applied for LED seasonal decoration project. Expecting response this month.
- Canada Community Revitalization Fund – Discussing agreement for mural project.
- Town of Milton – For 2022, Town providing financial contribution, staff time for planning, operations and SummerFest day-of staff. Willing to discuss arrangements for 2023+. Hopefully some of the dollars can be used for HolidayFest as well.
- Can log into the dashboard and get data for a two-month period.
- Passersby – people in vicinity of access point for less than 5 minutes. Daily average 14k for February.
- Visitors – in vicinity for more than 5 minutes. 700-1,700 visitors for February.
- February 12 was highest day (Saturday), February 27 was lowest day (Sunday)
- Can see what areas get the most visitors, what get the most repeat visits, etc.
SummerFest & HolidayFest
- Milton Cruise not able to lead car show element of the SummerFest.
- CB – Some specific members of Milton Cruise might participate, and offroad club might be interested.
- Santa Claus Parade moved to Saturday, November 27 due to police availability. RS suggested running HolidayFest on November 19. Secondary option is December 3 but more likely to need snow removal, etc. Could explore a private security company if police are not available.
- SB – Merchants need more time to get stores ready for holidays. Suggestion to run event December 3.
- All – Proceed with December 3 for HolidayFest.
- Some pushback recently on social media about market happening at the Fairgrounds.
- Chamber had to make the decision months before the event and Fairground provides more flexibility.
- Told Chamber we may do some activations downtown on Market days to bring visitors to Main St. Chamber offered to help promote it.
- KTD – Market vendors like the Fairgrounds, but many vendors are not Milton-based. Important to consider downtown business needs. Complex issue and Chamber will examine it closely for 2023.
- SB moved to send a letter to Milton Chamber encouraging them to bring the Farmers’ Market back to Main Street in 2023. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Public art mural project
- Participating in I heART Main Street, run by STEPS. They provide pro bono support and advice for BIAs to undertake public art projects. Some financial support available if artist(s) from a minority group.
- Partnership with Arts Milton, confirming what tasks they can take on for the project.
- Other BIAs have done mural projects painting the wall instead of panels (public or private property).
- Originally wanted panels because they could be moved to a new location if needed. Disadvantage of panels – won’t cover whole wall, not as visible from afar, concerns around vandalism on wall.
- CB – Reach out to Planning re whether this could be a pilot CIP project. Could strengthen our relationships with Town and Region, may be funds available. There is an application process.
- RS – Will reach out to Town to inquire about any funding through the Culture Plan.
- Need to raise $15k in order to access the full federal grant funding. Finalizing grant agreement.
- Launching 2022 sponsorship package shortly (includes events, mural, gardens, guide).
- Will reach out to potential partners (Laurier, Conestoga, etc.).
- Assembling working group for project to support with planning and implementation.
- MG – Need to close the funding gaps and secure sponsorship to cover costs.
- SB – Bergsma’s will donate all the paint and sealers for the project – make this a C2 initiative.
- CB moved to accept ED’s Report. SB seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Other Business (CB)
- Staff reviewing whether they can use armour stones as safety barrier at Main & Martin.
- Suggestion to do a public meeting for provincial candidates to discuss downtown issues.
- Proposal going up for 164 Main Street for some remodeling.
- CB moved to adjourn. SB seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Meeting adjourned at 7:48 pm.