The Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday evening, Feb. 17. The meeting was held virtually due to Covid protocols currently in place. A small group responded to the invitation were were given the following updates:
Chairperson’s Report of 2021 BIA Activities
Chair Dave Tiffin gave a summary of 2021 to the attendees. 2021 was another up and down year for Wingham businesses due to lockdowns. We did see the return of the Santa Claus parade, which the BIA covers insurance for. Thanks to the Lions Club for organizing. The Festival of Lanterns continued for the 8th consecutive year. Mark McDougall and Lisa Hearnden continue to lead this event. Work is almost complete on the LED sign at the south end of town. Hydro was run in the summer. Delivery delays slowed installation, but everything is in order with expected completion by end of the month. The installation was passed at the 2020 AGM and we anticipate this being a significant help in making the public aware of events to draw people to the community. A list of allowed postings has been drafted. This will be subject to periodic Board review. The BIA also wrote to North Huron Council and spoke at Council in support of converting the train station to a museum. We’re pleased to see this passed as we expect it to be a tourist draw to the area bringing people to our business community. Fundraising committee has been created.
Treasurer Doug Kuyvenhoven presented the 2021 financials. There were no questions from the attendees. The 2022 budget was presented for approval. The BIA is expecting a return of spending support for the July 1st fireworks, and the Santa Claus parade. The Board will be looking into new streetlight banners highlighting Wingham’s strong musical history. The budget was passed unanimously.
We are hoping for and expecting the lifting of Covid restrictions. Also hope to see the return of the July 1 fireworks, which the BIA sponsors and expect to be able to have the Christmas light in Cruickshank return as a community event in mid-November. Retail promotions similar to other years will be held, but we’re open to modifications. A tourist map project is in development. This will provide visitors with overall view of the area, with sponsoring businesses highlighted. Hoping to work with Blyth BIA, North Huron Ec Dev and Advance Times on this. We plan to work with theatre to bring live shows to Wingham. We’ve seen that good performers will come to Wingham and we need to build on that to draw people to town and our business community. The BIA is looking into the next major project. With the success of the snowflake lights and now the LED sign we’re considering new banners for streetlight. Although not a goal, the BIA Chair is part of the Vance Trust committee which will see initial disbursements in 2022.
The Board is only a small group of volunteers. As such constructive input, and assistance, from the membership is always welcome.
Election of Board Members:
The BIA Board can consist of 4-8 business owners/employees, 2 of which can be Associate members. The Board had room for up to 3 new Board members. At the meeting Carolyn Young of Libro Credit Union and Ashley VanderVelden of Naturally Bongins were nominated and allowed their names to stand. With less than 4 nominees no election was necessary. The 2 nominees will need approval by North Huron Council, which is fully expected.
BIA Award Announcements
Teenie Tiny Tots
Castings Public House
Mikaylo Home Furnighings & Decor
- Civic Improvement: Murray Simpson – Castings Public House
- Special Award – Green’s Meat Market. This is hopefully a one time award. Recognizing Green’s Meat Market for their resilience and determination to rebuild and reopen within a year of a devasting fire. Congratulations to the Green family on all the hard work to accomplish this.
- Lifetime Achievement – Lisa Hearnden
- Lisa is an original Board member. Over the years she has been incredibly valuable to the BIA. Lisa, along with Mark McDougall have co-ordinated the Festival of Lanterns and she was the driving force behind the production and installation of the Christmas gnome theme along Josephine St. She’s participated in many Curb Appeal projects, has always been willing to volunteer her time and will be missed. Thank you Lisa
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