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by Doug Harvey
Port Stanley BIA General Membership Meeting

The Port Stanley BIA had their Annual General Membership Meeting at the Port Stanley Arena on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2017. The meeting's main objective was to discuss the BIA sponsored events for the upcoming year, and the proposed 2017 BIA budget. Attending tonight's meeting included two Central Elgin senior staff, Karen Harris, and Dianne Wilson, and two members of Central Elgin's Council, Mayor David Marr, and Councillor of Ward 1, Port Stanley, Dan McNeil.

After greetings from Ted Halwa, current Chair of the Port Stanley BIA Board of Management, the approval of the 2016 BIA AGM minutes was brought to the membership, and a motion was passed to approve last years minutes.

After introductions from Vicci Coughlin, Ted Halwa proceeded directly to the top item on this year's BIA sponsored event list, the 2017 Spring Fever Fashion Show held at the Kettle Creek Golf and Country Club. He stated that this event has always been a success, and that the BIA will again sponsor the breakfast with thanks to the organizers for the continuing success of this event.

The 2017 Community Garage Sale will continue on the May 24 Weekend, along with the Side Walk Sale, and a reminder to the membership will be sent out to promote participation in this weekend event.

Deb Kussmann, BIA Executive member, discussed the resurrection of Canfest, with a committee membership that includes Carol Gates from GT's Beach Bar & Grill, and Fred Heintz from Broderick's Ice Cream. With the BIA to sponsor only $2,000 towards the cost of fireworks, a minimum show cost is $6,000, the Canfest event will have fireworks organized by GT's on Saturday, July 2nd, as the prime date of July 1st is too expensive. The BIA will also dedicate a web page on portstanley.net to promote all the activities that will be held that weekend.

Ted Halwa, BIA Executive Chair, stated, contrary to rumours, that the BIA will be planning a Harbourfest in 2017 with the planned date for the long weekend in August. This years Harbourfest program will be more diverse in it's appeal, with educational and cultural themes. With this years Canada 150 Celebrations, the overwhelming demand for Tall Ships at events, has left Port Stanley without any Tall Ships for Harbourfest 2017, resulting in the Harbourfest committee to come up with some creative alternatives.

Vicci Coughlin, BIA Executive member, discussed the reasons for the budget increases for the 2017 Christmas in the Harbour event over the 2016 event, and of the efforts of Cynthia DeWit of Russell House Apparel building the website, and administrating the Facebook presence.

Dan McNeil discussed the changes to the 2017 Marketing Campaign influenced by the membership at the meeting in December. The majority believed that less should be spent on traditional media advertising, like television and billboards, and more success can be achieved by working together with Elgin County Tourism and the Southwestern Ontario Tourism Corporation. He spoke about the new Elgin County Tourism Office, and washrooms, that is to be located in the Port Stanley Pumping Station 52 when it is built across from the Legion. With the marketing strategy there will be two main areas of concentration, the first will be radio with advertising focus placed on all events for the whole year. The second will be with social media through a request for proposals for technical and operational support for the BIA website and social media initiative.

Ted Halwa, BIA Executive Chair, talked about the beautification budget being just over $10,000 to cover projects which include adorning the Village with Canadian Flags ahead of Canfest on the street light fixtures, larger flower baskets, 20 hours of work time from Central Elgin's Green Team do BIA projects, and beautification efforts along William Street.

Dan McNeil spoke on the last item for discussion, the Harbour Secondary Plan which is a Provincial requirement before any development can take place on harbour lands. Previous plans that were taken, such as the 2009 study showed the harbour lands as mostly parkland, another, the 2013 Harbour Vision Economic Development Plan shows extensive commercial and residential development on both sides of the harbour. Both of these plans are not really plans, but are ideas. The Harbour Secondary Plan is being developed by Dillon Consulting Limited, who did Central Elgin's Official Plan, by following a multifaceted study that will include Transportation, Heritage, Urban Design, Sanitary Sewer Systems, Storm Water Management, Finance, and the development of a Community Improvement Plan that should be finished by November.

A vote was taken and the 2017 budget was passed as presented, with only 15 businesses out of 89 represented. During the meeting, there was some excitement, and hope when Carol Gates re-joined the BIA Executive filling a spot left vacant by Linda Snowden.

Last Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:01:54 PM EST

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