The Port Stanley BIA had their General Meeting at the Port Stanley Arena on Wednesday,
November 29th, 2017. The meeting's main objective was to gather input from the membership
for setting priorities, planning, and budgeting for the coming year. Attending tonight's
meeting from the Municipality of Central Elgin were Mayor David Marr, Councillor of
Ward 1 Port Stanley, Dan McNeil, and two Central Elgin senior staff, Karen Harris,
and Dianne Wilson. The attending BIA membership included four executive members, the
chair of the meeting Carol Gates, and Vicci Coughlin, Mike Karda, Ted Halwa, and thirteen
other voting BIA members.
After introductions, Carol Gates gave a run down on what the BIA accomplished in 2017.
She indicated that Canfest was a huge success during this years Canada 150 which also included
the biggest fireworks display ever held at Port Stanley's main beach. Harbourfest was a struggle
because of Canada's 150, as the BIA could not get any Tall Ships for this event like in previous
years. She also gave some insight as to why the BIA promotes Port Stanley events displaying recent
statistics showing a 60,000 visitor online audience for only the Dickens Day Parade.
Kate Burns from Elgin County discussed the Elgincentives Community Improvement Plan
that had grants available to improve the quality of downtowns, waterfronts, agricultural
and tourism areas. The goal of the Elgincentives Plan is to stimulate economic growth
and diversification by funding quality visual place of business improvements. She
talked about some of the businesses that have already accessed funding, and made
efforts to those that haven't, explaining in detail general eligibility requirements,
and a description of the steps necessary in the application process.
Dan McNeil, Councillor of Ward 1 Port Stanley, discussed the progress of the Port Stanley
Harbour redevelopment so far commenting that he was pleased with the changes so far even
though it took seven years instead of two, and there is still more work to be done. Concrete
sidewalks are now complete on the eastside of the harbour with the walkway lighting becoming
operational next year from the east walkway entrance to Jacksons Fish Market. He also commented
that the BIA also plays a large role in the future of the harbour lands, and that there will
be at least two more public input meetings for the Harbour Secondary Plan.
Mike Karda, Ted Halwa, both BIA Executive members discussed the need for improvement, beautification
and maintenance projects in Port Stanley that would cost about 25% of the budget. Refurbishment of
the pole Anchor lights will be completed next year, and a transformer box graphics wrap is in the
works for about a dozen transformer boxes if Erie Thames Power allows a graphics wrap installation
to proceed. Money is also available for the "Green Team", summer students employed by Central Elgin
that wiil do weeding. We are also considering a lighting project for the King George VI Lift Bridge
that would highlight this Port Stanley landmark.
Vicci Coughlin, BIA Executive member, discussed the issues with the old style Sailboat and
Anchors pole banners needing repairs, then being reinstalled, and how a new type of metal banner
will be installed only along Bridge Street that will have a nautical themes graphic. An improved online
social media presence will be in place for this years Christmas in the Harbour that should allow
visitors easier access to all events in the village. The BIA also increased sponsorship of the
marching bands in this years Dickens Day Parade from $500.00 to $1,000.
Carol Gates discussed the need for an event planner for some some the events planned for 2018,
and of an addition of a new fall event for the BIA 2018 sponsored season bringing the
total to seven events. A Taste of Port will take place September 21st - 23rd, with it's main theme being
food and music which we hope all restaurants and bars will take full advantage of. Using more social
media advertising is in the budget and proper usage tips to generate more likes were shown to educate
the members on how to increase effective social media presence for both members and the BIA .
This year the Levy rates BIA members were charged changed to a higher percentage of assessed value of a
rateable property because of the need for increased BIA funding. The minimum rate that BIA members with
the lowest property valuation pay was raised from $100 to $200, and the maximum BIA members with the
highest property valuation pay went from $1000 to $2500 which represents an almost astronomical increase
of a hundred times higher, than the rate of inflation.