The Belleville Downtown Improvement Area picked its new board members during its annual general meeting on Wednesday night.
Of the 10 people chosen from 13 nominations, six of them are new, while four have served on the board since at least this past spring.
Katherine Brown of Kate’s Kitchen is one of the new directors and says collaboration on the board will be key in moving forward.
Brown added that the BDIA also needs a concrete plan and vision moving forward.
Dwayne Barratt, of Barratt’s Office Pro has been a longtime member of the board, most recently serving as its chair and tells Quinte News, despite some previous friction on the board, the new group seems to have an aligned focus already.
Here is the full list of board members elected on Wednesday night, with new board members noted in bold:
- Dwayne Barratt – Barratt’s Office Pro
- Diane Bartlett – Upfront Gallery & Home Shop
- Katherine Brown – Kate’s Kitchen
- Ken Harnden – Pinnacle Music Studios
- Melanie Hilmi – Caper’s Restaurant
- Sandy Musson – Tri and Run Sports
- Lorne McDougall – McDougall Insurance
- Shawn Patriquin – They Integrated
- Abraham Serrotos Ramos – Chilango’s Mexican Restaurant
- Tara Van Dijk – Belleville Club
Since the BDIA is a committee of council, Belleville’s new councillors will have to approve the nominations at an upcoming meeting, before the BDIA chooses its chair and other executive positions in the new year.
Representatives from the BDIA’s 180 members also got updates on the year that was in 2018, looking ahead at a potential “downtown commons” near City Hall and a briefing from the organization’s new media and communications coordinator.
Mayor Elect Mitch Panciuk, who is the outgoing council member on the board, delivered a speech about the future of the city’s downtown and the role of the BDIA.
He says the downtown core is “at a crossroads” and now that the redevelopment work is done, the focus needs to shift to showing residents that the $35 million investment was worth it.
He also outlined four conditions that he feels need to be met, in order for the BDIA to improve and grow moving forward.
- Updating the BDIA constitution and board procedures by March 31 2019
- Restoring damaged relationships and confidence among BIDA members
- Increasing the capacity of the BDIA office by hiring a qualified, full time executive officer, to handle the day-to-day business
- Restore the levy back to what it was prior to the Downtown revitalization, with increased funding to help the BDIA to do the work it is responsible for
The BDIA also approved its 2019 budget, which is up 16% from last year to $290,000, with increases from the tax levy costing downtown commercial property owners less than $25 per month.
The BDIA plans to spend more this year on promotion and events (+$15,000), operational and labour costs (+$1,000), equipment purchases (+$2,500), policy updating and training (+$2,500) and improvements to communications, social media and rebranding (+$25,000).