BROCKTON – Brockton council has accepted the recommendation of staff to begin the process of dissolving the Walkerton Business Improvement Area (BIA).
The recommendation further recommended the budget be amended to include $6,000 in the tourism budget to support the Christmas Market event.
Over the previous two months, four members of the BIA board had submitted their resignations, leaving only one business representative and a council representative. The BIA is also without a manager, as recruitment efforts have been unsuccessful.
Council accepted those resignations with regret, during a previous meeting.
At the April 27 meeting, Coun. Kym Hutcheon said, “I’ve been a strong supporter of the BIA but see no alternative but to dissolve… this was inevitable.”
She later raised the possibility of a Chamber of Commerce with volunteer membership.
Coun. Dean Leifso asked about the possibility of reviving the BIA at a future date.
Clerk Fiona Hamilton responded by speaking of dissolving the BIA as “a chance for a fresh start.” This would include looking at the geographic limits of the BIA. She noted that reviving the BIA would be “fairly straight-forward.”
Coun. James Lang said the consensus on council was “there might need to be a break.”
Coun. Tim Elphick spoke of mixed feelings in deciding whether the BIA should be dissolved, and said he feared that once it’s gone, it’s not likely to come back.
There was discussion about the highly successful Brockton Dollars initiative that had been previously taken over by the municipality, and the possibility of the economic development committee taking on some of the work formerly done by the BIA.
CAO Sonya Watson assured council staff would be able to take on the extra work, partnering with the EDC “with certain aspects.”
Hutcheon stressed the importance of ensuring the Christmas Market continues.
“It was such a great success,” she said.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times