The Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) held their Annual General Meeting on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at the Knights Lounge of the North Huron Wescast Community Complex. Approximately 22 people were in attendance, most with voting privileges.
Chairman Doug Kuyvenhoven welcomed everyone and started the meeting off with a review of 2019 accomplishments. Several pictures were shown of volunteers beautifying Josephine Street businesses by painting and weed maintenance. The Town Hall Theatre, after an opening event in the spring, saw several performances the rest of the year. Although not a direct project of the BIA, it has the BIA’s full support with the expectation of drawing people to Wingham and local businesses. The Chair also explained that the BIA supports the Santa Claus Parade and the Firemen Fireworks by paying the insurance costs, pays for a marching band for the parade and puts a float in the parade. The Vision and Mission statements of the Wingham BIA were also reviewed. Kuyvenhoven also mentioned two goals are to brand Wingham for music and to become a leader in accessibility. The minutes of the 2019 AGM were read and approved.
Treasurer, Jason Schiestel, presented the 2019 financial statements. There were a few questions and explanations relating to the financials, but nothing serious was brought to attention. Schiestel also presented the proposed 2020 budget. After some discussion around advertising and a proposed LED sign project the budget was passed by a 17-1 margin. Dave Tiffin gave a brief summary of the Digital Main Street initiative. This was a program by the Ontario government and the Ontario BIA Association whereby small businesses could apply for a $2,500 grant towards increasing their online presence. Although the grant application period has expired, the training videos and information area are available at www.digitalmainstreet.ca.
Lisa Hearnden and Dave Tiffin presented awards to several businesses and volunteers. Terry & Sandy Walker were named Volunteers of the Year for all their volunteer hours with the BIA Curb Appeal and work on the Town Hall Theatre. New businesses in 2019 are Lone Wolf Antiques, Huron County Designs (winner of the In It To Win It contest), Thaiville restaurant, Reeny’s restaurant. Christine McGrath of Christine’s Clothes Closet was given the Business of the Year Award. Christine has had her store for 30 years and has run countless fashion shows that generated funds local causes. Congratulations, Christine!!
The current Board members are all returning, but there was one opening due to a departure earlier in the year. Ryan Fergusson of Co-operators was the only name on the ballot for that opening and there were no nominations from the floor. A ballot vote was still held with 17 in favour of Ryan and one abstention.
The floor was open for further comments or questions. There was very little input except for a comment regarding the good work of the Curb Appeal that does the painting and weeding. The meeting was adjourned and a social time followed with light snacks and bar provided by the Knights of Columbus.