Board of Director’s Meeting – Minutes
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Location: online 6:30 p.m.
Attendees: David O’Connell (DO), Colin Best (CB), Troy Newton (TN), Kristina Tesser Derksen (KTD), Miguel Gonsalves (MG), Margaret Lara (ML), Sara Bergsma (SB), Eric Chabot (EC), Rachel Shuttleworth (RS)
Regrets: Joe Taglieri (JT)
Guest: Charles Gibbs
DO called the meeting to order at 6:36 pm.
DO asked the committee if there was any declaration of pecuniary interest or conflict of interest. No declarations were made.
DO asked the group to review the previous meeting minutes.
- CB motioned to accept. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed
Treasurer’s Report – MG
- General expenses (majority of which are salaries) are $13,000 for the month, additional $10,000 landscaping charge came through so total expenses for the month were $23,000
- YTD we have incurred about $163,000 in expenses, trending as expected
- Projected expenses between now and the end of the year: $46,000
- Banners – $10,000
- Salaries – $26,000
- Outdoor holiday event – $10,000
- Projected surplus to be carried into 2021: minimum $23,000
- CB moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report. SB seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Recent meeting with new fire chief, he will be creating a new fire master plan, KTD will bring an update to the board on that once it’s ready
- Bronte St now reopened, but still some construction work is still underway, hopefully there will a bit less traffic congestion downtown now that cars can get around the area more easily
- Town currently under certain COVID protection measures for high risk settings, but some restrictions are being loosened – ie around fitness classes, hockey games and scrimmages, etc.
- Pedestrian tunnel at Main and Bronte is under construction, night work underway. Project will be done at the end of fall next year
- Announcement taking place tomorrow on availability of rural internet for shopping. This will be helpful for businesses selling and marketing online
- Region is monitoring the health situation. Go to halton.ca for daily updates (yellow banners at the top of the page). It is concerning seeing the COVID numbers rise in Toronto and Peel
- Meeting next week for the Regional Official Plan. Next step is to review and assemble the feedback from the community around the plan and the direction they want our region to take for the next 25 years. Will be discussing options for potential areas for growth in Milton and other communities.
- DO – People from Toronto, Peel, etc are coming into Halton because our businesses are open. What is the region’s perspective on that?
- CB – Encouraging all businesses to follow and enforce COVID rules around contact tracing, mask-wearing, social distancing, etc.
- ML moved to accept the Council Reports. SB seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Executive Director’s Report
Temporary extended patios
- BIA and Chamber submitted joint request to have the temporary patio program extended
- Town agreed to extend temporary patios on public property to December 31. Patios on public property still had to close by end of October
- Town currently exploring ways to extend deadlines into October 2021 for patio program
- A successful activity, gained lots of new social media followers and generated engagement on online and in the community, videos from local business owners were popular, great feedback on the scavenger hunt and parents and kids appreciated the opportunity to do something fun for Halloween
- A bit time-consuming to organize because it was something new for us, but we have a template now that could be used in the future for this type of activity
Drive-in to the Holidays
- Event to take place Saturday, December 5
- Logistics coordination underway
- Beginning outreach to sponsors this week
- Secured a screen vendor and signing off on final details
- Planning to do a small road closure on Mary St behind the parking lot so we can move the screen back and accommodate another 10-15 cars in the parking lot
- Considering showing either Home Alone or the Grinch (2018 animated version)
Filming in Downtown Milton
- Filming taking place next week in various locations in Downtown Milton, lasting six days.
- Yogurty’s has a new wall being built in front of it. Other changes to store signs, etc in downtown
- Anticipating there will be some push-back from some members, especially in that closed off area. Sony said road closure will be intermittent and will work hard to ensure business owners and their customers can access businesses at all times as long as it’s safe to do so.
- We are talking to Sony/Location Manager about making a financial contribution to the BIA to support a legacy project for our community. We have suggested that they contribute to our banner project because it is something that beautifies the whole community and provides a benefit to all the businesses.
- (Showed the Board the two banner design concepts.)
- Would like to have to have design finalized next week so we can send for print and have Sony help install banners after the filming. Sony has taken at least half the banners down already.
- Concept 1 – Graphical representation of things that can be done downtown
- Concept 2 – Photographic representation of different areas of downtown
- SB – Concept 2 – Like the lettering and simplicity. Website and ‘Downtown Milton’ words might be too close together, too repetitive. Unsure how it will look in the day when the sun is on it, might look washed out. Concept 1 – A bit juvenile and don’t like the font for ‘Milton’. Recommend including colour since we don’t have a lot of colour half the year.
- RS – Concept 2 – Could ask designer to show more details in the buildings, etc. We provided designer with examples of banners from other communities as a starting point
- KTD – Cambridge banners are metal, not cloth. They are a blend of these two designs – they have stylized representations of recognizable places in the area. Will share some photos
- RS – Would have a series – maybe three. Could keep the same image and use different colours, or change the colours and the images, etc. Can feature different parts of downtown – ie Clock Tower, Mill Pond and Knox or Thompson House
- DO – Concept 2 is better. Recommendation to print colours darker so we get more time out of the banners before they fade. Try more stylization of the images, simplify the lines and expand on the details. It’s a great effect. Can play with the posterization and contrast so we see more details. Could use full colour photographs. Doesn’t have to be just two colours.
- CG – Lots of negative space, could crop so there is less empty space. Option on the left is tilted.
- RS – Will take this feedback back to the designer and share updated version with the board before we go to print.
- MG – What’s the theme we are trying to promote?
- RS – In our research, we found some common approaches in other communities are either graphically representing elements of the downtown (like in Concept 1, Burlington did something similar) or using photos or images of a specific important element/view of the neighbourhood.
- RS – Options for printing: regular vinyl (18oz), likely around $6,300 with tax, or reinforced vinyl (20oz), around $8,200 with tax. Don’t know how much longer the lifespan is for reinforced vinyl. If we do the regular vinyl, we should plan to replace banners more regularly. Reinforced vinyl would put us beyond the $10k budget for this project.
- DO – Depends how long we intend to keep the banners up. All vinyl banner will fade over time, and eventually rip. Need to order some extras to replace broken ones. If we want to commit to changing banners every three years or so, regular vinyl (18oz) will be fine. If we want to keep these for 5+ years, we should do the reinforced (20oz) vinyl.
- DO – Considered creating a sponsorship program in the past, could look at that for the future.
- RS – Ideal to get banners done in 2020 because we don’t have it in the 2021 project. We have suggested to Sony that they could cover, or at least contribute to, our $10,000 banner replacement project. Sony is considering this. Alternatively, they may want to divide dollars up and do small cash donations (ie $100?) to each business. I haven’t heard back on what they want to do. Have spoken to other BIAs that received financial donation from film production companies – Burlington, Blue Mountain, etc.
- DO – Size of financial contribution depends on size of production companies. If we want filming to come back to our community, need to make it easy for them to work here.
- RS – Hoping for some economic benefit for businesses for filming. We have encouraged the production companies to use our restaurants, shops, etc. They have union contracts they need to comply with which limits them in terms of using local catering. But hopefully with 100-200 crew and actors downtown, there will be business generated for local businesses naturally. There is lots of chatter on social media right now about the filming so hopefully that translates into revenue for our businesses as well. Chamber floated the idea of a partnership to promote Milton as a filming destination to production companies. Could be an opportunity for revenue and exposure for businesses. It is a lot of work helping with film coordination (connecting them with businesses, contractors, etc.). RS to email banner design to board prior to printing. Sounds like regular vinyl is ok for our purposes.
Digital Main Street: Digital Service Squad
- Receiving $18,132 in funding through Digital Main Street Ontario to run the project (covers DSS member wages, technology, marketing, supplies, etc.). November 2020 to February 2021. Hired one DSS member full-time and one part-time.
- Goal is to connect with 72 businesses through the program. For those interested in working with us, DSS members can conduct a digital assessment of their business, help them apply for the $2,500 grant (deadline November 30, 2020), connect them with learning resources, help them activate and access digital marketing tools to support their businesses, etc.
- Eligible businesses include BIA members and other small businesses in designated commercial core with less than 10 employees (less than 25 for restaurants), needs a storefront, no franchises.
- Milton Economic Development contributing $6,000 to support administration and project management by our office.
- Outreach began to our businesses last week to do digital assessments and help them apply for the grant. Feedback to date has been extremely positive.
- Focusing our outreach on BIA businesses but if businesses outside the BIA and still in the central business district want to work with us, we will support them as well.
- We are receiving lots requests from businesses for us to work with them.
Digital Main Street: Future Proof
- Haltech offering $5,000-$25,000 grants for collaborative projects piloting scalable solutions that address challenges faced by main street businesses (total available is $50,000).
- Proposal from a local marketing and technology company to partner with us on a multi-week wintertime outdoor dining event to support local businesses. Event features pods where people can dine with others from their households or bubbles, get food from local restaurants. May also include music, giveaways, activations, displays from local businesses, etc.
- Organizers want to work with only BIA restaurants if possible. Restaurants would need to have a few menu items available, would receive take-out orders in advance and provide take-out items to event at specific date/time. Support they are requesting from BIA: Engaging restaurants, promotions.
- They have several things to sort out related to Public Health requirements. They could fit a few dozen pods in the parking lots at Main St & Brown St. Exact number TBD. Would do multiple seatings. Organizers are hoping to get corporate sponsorship to help pay for the pods.
- KTD – Uncorked restaurant in Georgetown just posted about their three pods.
- TN – I think it’s worth trying the event. Not sure how people will feel about dining outdoors in the winter, but this is something unique and interesting to try. Organizers would need to figure out how to keep food hot when it’s going from the restaurant to the pod. Easier to serve hot food when serving out front of your own restaurants so some logistics need to be sorted out. Likely this would be popular for higher end restaurants.
- SB – Lots of support in the community for events and activities downtown. Would need to get enough restaurants on board to make it a draw for the general public.
- RS – Will ask what they plan to do related to alcohol. Restaurant would receive a message with their orders. Ideally the restaurants would know their orders well in advance and can plan.
- DO – Explore if it makes sense to spread the pods out, close some of Main Street.
- TN – If you want music or alcohol, pods would all have to be in one space. Restaurants don’t generally have spare staff to be able to run food down the road to the event.
- DO – We support the event. Some questions need to be answered still, and we can help point organizers in the right direction. Board supports a partnership with these organizers to help make the event happen.
- CB moved to accept ED Report, SB seconded the motion. Motion passed
- KTD now a board member of the Towsend Smith Foundation, and Chair of their Fundraising committee. Will be a ramp up in fundraising and campaign starting soon
- CB moved to adjourn. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Meeting adjourned at 7:44 pm.