Entertainment Comes to Wingham

There’s a variety of entertainment options coming to Wingham over the next few weeks. It starts at the Wingham Town Hall Theatre with Valdy performing on Nov. 15, Peter Irwin & The Memphis Rebels doing an Elvis Christmas performance on Nov. 24 and Michelle Wright performing Wed., Dec. 4. The Elvis show also has the option of attending a Christmas dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall afterwards. Wingham Minor Hockey is also holding a fundraiser for the required half ice boards. They’re hosting a Yuk Yuk’s show on Nov. 29 at the Knights Hall. Please refer to the posters around town for ticket information, but Valdy and Michelle Wright are available online or through Annette’s Treasures Galore, Elvis at the KoC Hall or Christine’s Clothes Closet or South Bruce Flooring and Yuk Yuk’s through some WMHA personnel or the KOC Hall.

Nothing to do in a small town?? I think not!!!!

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Rental Housing Form

Due to the current shortage of housing in the Wingham area for employees wanting to move here we have developed a form for anyone who wants to list available rental space.

These spaces can be anything from a full house to Air BnB. The form we’ve created will ask for your contact information, the type of rental property and the location. The data will be made available to local employers who in turn can advise employees of availability. Any rental agreements will be between the property owner and the employee. Employers and the Wingham BIA will not be involved in these arrangements.

If you have space to rent click the “Rental Housing” menu item on the home page of our site.

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Critical Local Housing Shortage for Workers

                Huron Economic Development , Mayors of North Huron and Morris-Turnberry along with members of the Wingham BIA, Centre for Employment & Learning and Human Resources representatives from 3 of the larger local employers have been meeting to try to solve a double edged problem in the area.

                Companies are in dire need of workers and there’s a local shortage.  Chris Watson of Huron Economic Development told the meetings that the Huron, Bruce, Grey, Perth region has an unemployment rate of just over 3% (lowest in the province).  The rate considered full employment is 5%, taking into account seasonal workers and those no longer looking for employment.  The lack of workers is troubling, but there is also a lack of housing for workers willing to transfer into the area.

                Allison Letteau of Wescast in Wingham stated that the company is moving work from their Michigan facility to Wingham.  They’ll require 24 people to staff the line, with still requiring an additional 26 people for their other operating lines for a total of 50 people required.  But finding the workers is proving difficult.  The same was echoed by Jennica Fry of Britespan and Corry Mayberry-Milton of Gay Lea in Teeswater.  There are housing initiatives in Blyth, East Wawanosh and M-T, but they are, for the most part, realistically 2 years from availability.

                A short term solution being investigated is busing workers in either daily or a week at a time.  But again, the housing shortage precludes the weekly routine.  That being said, those attending the meetings have decided to try developing  a database of locations that current residents would be willing to rent out.  If you have an available house, granny flat, apartment, B&B, Air BnB or are even willing to take in a boarder, local employers would like to hear about it.  The Wingham BIA has developed an online form where people can register their property.  The information would be forwarded to employers needing accommodation for workers.  The BIA is assisting in this development, but will not be responsible for the renting as that will be between the employee and property owner. 

                It’s not only the larger employers having trouble finding workers.  Several storefronts in the area have Help Wanted signs displayed.  There’s plenty of opportunity for our region to keep growing and there’s a diverse need of employees.  If we work together we can keep the local economy booming.

For job postings at the companies listed above and contact information you can check:

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In It To Win It Contest Winner Announced

The first In It To Win It contest for Wingham wrapped up on June 13 at the Wingham Legion.  Five entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to judges who then awarded the grand prize.
The 5 ideas were a security business, e-bike sales & service, lawn/garden maintenance, a wellness cafe and a gift design business.  Each one spoke about their business idea and took questions from the panel of judges.  The judges were BIA Board member Jordan Hodgins, BIA members Sherry Giffen of Sherry’s Barber Shop and Sandra Ambing of Gemstone Essence, Murray Simpson, Chair of the North Huron Economic Development Committee and Glen Manjin of Libro.  The evening masters of ceremony were Scott Miller of Blackburn News and Denise Lockie from the NH Recreation Department.
After the pitches, refreshments were served while the judges made their decision.  The result was that Nicole Urquhart of Huron County Designs was named the winner.  Nicole has been running a business out of her Brussels home, but will now be able to open a storefront on Josephine Street in Wingham.  She gave a very detailed business plan and answered a variety of judge’s questions with strong answers.
Congratulations Nicole.  We look forward to seeing your new business open in Wingham.

Nicole Urquhart – Winner of the In It To Win It contest
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Links to OBIAA Information

We’ve added a new page to the Wingham BIA website. On it you’ll find various links to information provided by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA). This page will be updated periodically so check it out often for new or revised information.

The OBIAA can offer grant opportunities as well as articles on helping your business digitally and with the accessibility issues that will become more prevalent as our population ages.

Access the page by selecting the “OBIAA Links” opion on the top menu bar.

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Town Hall Theatre Reveal

The Town Hall Theatre and Council Chambers was the scene of the reveal of the renovations that have taken place over the past few months.  Special guests were invited to a wine and cheese gathering in the Council Chambers at 2:00 p.m.  Doors to the theatre were opened to the public at 3:00 with the reveal officially taking place at 3:30 p.m.

Theatre committee chairperson Doug Kuyvenhoven showed slides of the work that had taken place in the theatre.  He explained that he initially had a limited vision of changes, but that the group of volunteers just kept at it, and the results are phenomenal!!  Kuyvenhoven explained the details of everything that had been done and then local business owner, John Frieburger, provided a magnificent slideshow of his wildlife pictures.  Mr. Frieburger has travelled far and wide through Canada, Alaska and Montana photographing wildlife in their natural habitat.

A list of coming events for the remainder of the year was displayed, and more may be added.  We are extremely fortunate to have this facility and even more fortunate to have the volunteer spirit so alive and well in Wingham. Thank you to everyone involved in this project.

Chairperson Doug Kuyvenhoven addresses the crowd at the Theatre Reveal
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In It To Win It Contest

On Mar. 6 the In It To Win It competition was launched at the Hot Stove Lounge. Thirteen would be entrepreneurs have submitted business ideas and hope to win the $10,000 prize package consisting of a variety of business assistances. The entries will be able to attend business related training sessions to help develop their plans.

A group of judges consisting of Dwayne Evans, Amanda Piskorski, Denise Lockie, Paul Nichol, Tina Heathers, Alison Lobb, Glen Manjin, Breanne Stafford and Sherry Giffen will judge the entries with the winner being announced in June.

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2019 Annual General Meeting

A nice turnout of business owners attended the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Wingham BIA. The meeting was held in the Knights Hall of the North Huron Wescast Community Complex on Feb. 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Minutes of the 2018 AGM were read and approved as presented. Chairperson Doug Kuyvenhoven presented a slide show of BIA activities over the past year. The financials were reviewed and the draft budget for 2019 presented and approved by those in attendance. Councilor Trevor Seip, North Council rep to BIA, presented a Council update. The Board of Management of the BIA, looking to add new members, welcome Annette Monsma, Sandra Ambing and Jordan Hodgins to the Board. We want to thank Sandy Walker, who is stepping down, for her service with the BIA the last few years.

The annual BIA awards were presented by Lisa Hearnden and Dave Peers. New businesses in Wingham acknowledged were Annette’s Treasures Galore, Ship 2 Shore, Pioneer Gas, Buck and Jo’s and Royal Oaks Pharmacy. Pioneer Gas also received the Civic Improvement award. Other awards went to Maureen & Gary Lisle as Volunteers of the Year, Gemstone Essence/Artisan Market shared the Business of the Year Award with Sherry’s Barber Shop. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Marie and Dave Wallace of Ernie King Music who will be retiring at the end of March 2019.

There were no questions from the floor, but Dave Wallace thanked Chairperson Doug Kuyvenhoven and the BIA Board for the work in the community.

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Initiatives for Businesses

Community Improvement Plan:
Applications for the CIP initiative are open until Feb. 28/19.  This opportunity covers  the core business areas of Blyth and Wingham.  More information about the CIP can be found at http://www.northhuron.ca/atk/uploads/Ec_Dev/North_Huron_Community_Improvement_Plan_Nov_2018_Final.pdf and the application can be found at http://www.northhuron.ca/atk/uploads/Administration/2019_NH_CIP_Application_Form_Final.pdf You can contact Dwayne Evans, CAO/Clerk, Township of North Huron at 519-357-3550 or by email at devans@northhuron.ca.

In It To Win It:
The In It To Win It contest for Wingham entry deadline has been extended to March 5/19.  You still have time to make an application and can access information at http://www.northhuron.ca/business_new.php?area=B_CINIT .  Even if you aren’t the grand prize winner, you can still benefit from the training available, and it may convince you to take the plunge on your own into business ownership.

Libro Prosperity Initiative:
The Libro Prosperity Fund supports projects between $5,000 and $100,000.  Applicatins are open from Feb. 4 to Mar. 14, 2019 and must be submitted online. For full details and access to an application, go to https://www.libro.ca/community/prosperity-fund/prosperity-fund-program.

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