BIA Holds Annual General Meeting

The 2024 Wingham BIA Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held Thursday, Feb. 15 at the Knights Lounge of the Complex. There was a light turnout, due to weather, but there was quorum to pass motions.

BIA Chair, Dave Tiffin, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The minutes of the 2023 AGM were viewed and passed as written. The achievements of 2023 were read, with the following being noted:

  1. The Curb Appeal subcommittee under the direction of Doug Kuyvenhoven performed the usual maintenance along Josephine St of clearing weeds on a regular basis.
    • A Waste Free Wednesday was also done across town.
    • They looked after ordering and installing the flower baskets at businesses along Josephine St.
    • Doug also organized “The Green Team” that sanded and repainted the fencing at the Wingham Cemetery. More on this later.
  2. The Wingham Community Cash was rebranded as BIA Bucks. Working with Libro Credit Union the BIA did a Christmas discount of 5%. The BIA Bucks program keeps shopping local to Wingham businesses. The BIA Bucks program has been very successful over the years and we’ve had requests for information on how it’s set up from multiple communities, even as far away as B.C.
  3. The BIA ontinues to see ongoing demand for postings on the LED sign by Tim Hortons.  Have also had requests from other centres as to how this project was planned and completed.
  4. Participated in the Huron County mural project that’s now installed outside by the Complex doors.
  5. The BIA was disappointed to hear the museum wouldn’t be moving to the train station, but started an initiative with the library to create a permanent Alice Munro display at the local branch in her honour. Work is ongoing, with financial support from the BIA, in conjunction with the local library and the Huron County Museum.
  6. The new benches for Josephine St were ordered in 2023, but didn’t arrive until the fall.  They have recently been installed and the old benches will be refurbished for the trail.
  7. Proposed to Council that the section of the park between Patrick and John St by the splashpad be renamed Vance Park in honour of Leland and Thora Vance for their generous, ongoing donation to the town. This is work in progress.
  8. Continued to support the Lions Club Santa Claus parade by paying the insurance costs and bringing in the Seaforth marching band. 
  9. Although not BIA initiatives per se we’re very happy to see many successful shows at the Town Hall Theatre which bring people into town.  And the new sidewalk and crossings at the south end of town are a great addition for the businesses in that area.

     In summary of the initiatives, Chair Tiffin noted that he’d like to thank the Board for their work throughout the year.  Wingham BIA Board is totally volunteer with no paid staff.  We are in the approximate 10% of Ontario BIAs that are all volunteer.

The financial statements for 2023 were presented by Treasurer, Doug Kuyvenhoven. He detailed the expenditures of 2023 for those in attendance and the report was passed as presented.

Next, the proposed budget for 2024 was presented. There being no questions from those in attendance a motion was put forward and passed to accept the proposed budget.

The goals for 2024 were next presented by Chair Tiffin. These include:

  • The new benches being installed along Josephine St.  Existing benches will be refurbished and placed at locations along the walking trail.
  • BIA is assuming oversite of the Town Hall Theatre.  A subcommittee has been set up to keep the bar high.  Township will do the bookings at least for the time being. Denise Lockie of the Township noted that several bookings are already in place for 2024.
  • The BIA will look into Christmas decorations north of the train tracks.  Businesses in that area feel left out, understandably so.  The street lights in that area don’t have hydro.
  • Projects planned for 2024 include: Security cameras along Josephine St., Josephine St wifi with easy access for visitors and working with the Alice Munro Library on the permanent display in Munro’s honour.
  • F.E. Madill is hosting a job/career fair on March 27. The BIA and Township will be assisting with promotion. There will be an afternoon and evening session.
  • The Chair will continue to attend the scheduled roundtable calls with other Huron County BIAs and HC Ec Dev for information sharing.  Also try to attend OBIAA zoom calls on Tuesdays when possible. OBIAA calls have been good source of information, sharing ideas with other BIAs across Ontario.
    • The BIA will continue to provide notices of programs and training available to businesses through the BIA FB page.
  • Curb appeal projects will be ongoing under direction of Doug Kuyvenhoven. Will work with Homecoming to have Josephine St looking great.
  • Retailers are starting to meet monthly to discuss promotion options.
  • The BIA is working with Marks Bros Auto for the refurbishment of the Welcome to Wingham signs at each end of town. Hopefully this will be completed in time for Homecoming.
  • We are planning to bring back a form of General meetings.  These were stopped due to Covid and have never returned. Although Board meetings are open and people have an opportunity to speak on an agenda point, it is felt there should be a more general session where any topic can be approached. We propose to start General meeting at 6:30 the night of a Board meeting.  There will not be an agenda, but guests can bring up items for discussion.  Once these are dealt with, the general meeting will be adjourned and we’ll move directly into the Board meeting.

Next on the agenda was the annual awards. The Civic Improvement went to Arnold Morrison for the work done at Annette’s Treasures & Jewlz Designs and to Murray Simpson for work done on the former medical office building.
New businesses in 2023 were Harmony Hearing, Syd’s Barkin’ Beauties, Mane Inspiration, Soul Journey, Kneaded Relief and Wholesome Raw Pet Food.
Volunteer of the year went to “The Green Team”. This was a group of people who came together to paint the fencing at the Wingham Cemetery. Team members were: Paul and Gail Heffer, Tharon Riley, Jeanette King, Penny Mulvey, Gary and Maureen Lisle. On most days, there were at least 5 working and usually went from about 8:30 until noon. There are 159 sections of fence with an average of 23 bars per section for a total of 3657 bars and they were all sanded first, front and back and then painted, some twice. We figured we spent around 325-man hours on the job and had lots of laughs and fun doing it. I believe we were there about 5 weeks.

The final award was for Lifetime Achievement and was presented to Bruce Stainton. Chair Tiffin said the following about Bruce prior to presenting him with a certificate: “Bruce retired from the family business in 2023.  He took over the business of Stainton Home Hardware from his father, Murray and ran it for several years.  Bruce was a mainstay on Josephine St and very involved in business and community events.  Bruce led the Dig Our Downtown retail event when Josephine St was reconstructed several years ago. That led to regular business meetings and the eventual development of the Wingham BIA. Bruce was Chair of the Wingham BIA for several years after its establishment. We wish him well in his retirement

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:50 p.m.

BIA Chair Dave Tiffin congratulates Doug Kuyvenhoven and members of “The Green Team” that painted the fencing at the Wingham Cemetery. L-R are Tiffin, Kuyvenhoven, Gary Lisle, Tharon Riley, Penny Mulvey, Paul Heffer. Absent are Gail Heffer and Jeannette King.

BIA Chair Dave Tiffin presents Bruce Stainton with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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