The Wingham BIA held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the lounge of the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Called to order at 6:30 p.m. Chair, Dave Tiffin read the minutes of the 2022 AGM, which had been held virtually due to Covid in February 2022. The minutes were passed unanimously. Economic Development Officer Demetri Makrakos then presented proposed changes to the Wingham BIA constitution. This dealt with removing the industrial park businesses from the levy which reduces the annual levy by approximately $2,500. The changes were passed unanimously.
Chair Tiffin then gave a report on 2022 activities which included:
- 2022 saw the reopening after Covid. The online shopping trend will remain a concern for brick and mortar businesses.
- However, we did see new businesses open their doors in Wingham– Riverview Local Eatery, Cornerstone Pizza, Pet Valu, Duck Duck Juice, Noah’s Pizza
- We did, unfortunately, lose a few businesses well. Some for personal reasons.
- The LED sign project was completed in March. We have received many positive comments from both residents and other towns.
- We’ve been asked about putting paid advertising on it, but as a volunteer board we do not have the resources to manage that at this time.
- 2 BIA member businesses are featured weekly
- The July 1 fireworks returned and the Santa Claus parade was held again, as in 2021. The BIA covers the extra insurance cost for these events.
- BIA brought in and paid for Seaforth Marching Band.
- The lighting of the Christmas lights in Cruikshank returned as an in person event.
- Unfortunately vandalism is a problem at the park with items being broken or stolen.
- Curb appeal continues with the addition of 2 Waste Free Wednesdays. These were initiated by a Wingham citizen, but the BIA buys the gloves and garbage bags.
- Curb appeal also coordinates the summer flower baskets and Christmas gnomes, with help from volunteers.
- BIA volunteers continue to assist with Josephine St appearance.
- 2 successful retail promotions were held with the summer sidewalk sales moving to August from July. Thank you to Ashley Vander Velden for all the work she did on these and initiating some new ideas.
- As Chair, I spoke to NH Council to promote the Museum project. This has unfortunately been discontinued due to budget restraints. This is a loss to the business community from a tourism aspect.
- There is however an initiative in the works to have an Alice Munro display at the local library.
- Worked with Mid West Communications on the Tourist Map of Wingham and North Huron area. These are distributed throughout the area. We have samples here for anyone who hasn’t seen one. Please feel free to take a few or request some that could be picked at your place of business.
Treasurer Doug Kuyvenhoven presented the financials for 2022. There were no questions from the floor. Kuyvenhoven then presented the proposed budget for 2023 which was passed unanimously.
Council representative to the BIA, Mitch Wright, gave an update from Council. Wright gave a brief but very informational report on some current NH issues.
Chair Tiffin then returned to the podium to list the BIA goals for 2023. These include:
- New benches along Josephine St. to replace the existing ones. Existing benches will be refurbished and placed at locations along the walking trail.
- Continue to promote the Town Hall Theatre shows which draw people to Wingham and the business community.
- New flags and banners will be on streetlights. See the image below.
- Looking for new Christmas theme. Gnomes have had their run.
- Considering some other projects, but nothing definite at this point:
- Security cameras
- Historical plaques
- Josephine St wifi
- Alice Munro display at library
- Will continue to align with Wingham Community Connectors to promote events and positive aspects of Wingham
- F.E. Madill planning to hold a career/job fair in March. BIA is assisting with promotion
- Continue the biweekly roundtable calls with other HC BIAs and HC Ec Dev for information sharing
- Will keep notices of programs and training on the BIA FB page.
- Curb appeal projects – Doug Kuyvenhoven
- Expect to run retail promotions again, but will be looking for a Coordinator.
Makrakos then reviewed the nominees for the Wingham BIA Board for 2023. The BIA can have 4-8 members plus 1 Council representative. There were 5 returning Board members and 2 nominations. Returning members are Dave Tiffin, Doug Kuyvenhoven, Annette Monsma, Carolyn Young and Jim Snyder. The new nominees are Joey Havers and Ryan Fergusson. The members will need to be approved by North Huron Council, but no issues are anticipated. Ashley Vander Velden decided to not return to the Board due to work commitments.
The annual BIA awards were next on the agenda. The BIA has categories for new businesses in the year, civic improvement, lifetime achievement, and volunteer of the year. Not all awards are necessarily given each year. For 2022 the new businesses were Duck Duck Juice, Noah’s Pizza, Riverview Local Eatery, Cornerstone Pizza and Pet Valu. Civic improvement went to Fogal’s Independent and KYC for work done on their facades as well as Maitland Family Dental for their new accessible entry. Volunteer of the year was presented to Ashley Vander Velden for her work on the year’s retail promotions.
The meeting closed with a question and answer session but there were no questions from the floor. Monthly BIA Board meetings are the 3rd Thursday of each month with the exception of July. They start at 6:30 p.m. and are held in the Hot Stove Lounge of the NHWCC.