Walkerton BIA moves forward with council’s support

·2 min read

BROCKTON – The Walkerton BIA is in the process of making changes that will allow it to move forward successfully.

At the Oct. 26 meeting, council discussed a report on the BIA prepared by clerk Fiona Hamilton and CAO Sonya Watson.

Hamilton told council that the report separated out five recommendations, the first being that Brockton assume administration and sale of the highly successful “Walkerton Dollars” and expand eligibility to allow all businesses to participate in “Brockton Dollars.”

The second was that the Walkerton BIA budget be amended to allow surplus funds from wages to be used to support events and promotions.

The third was for the municipality to assume the Walkerton BIA’s lease agreement until the expiry of the term in 2023, with the building to be used for a municipal purpose.

The fourth recommendation was for the Walkerton BIA staff person to working from the municipal office three days per week.

Recommendation number five would see the size of the BIA’s board reduced from seven directors to five.

The only one of the five that didn’t get support was the third – taking over the lease. The motion on that particular recommendation was tabled pending additional information on the possibility of subletting the building.

Discussion showed support from council for the BIA. Coun. Kym Hutcheon thanked the mayor and staff for working with the BIA.

“These recommendations are going to work,” she said.

Coun. Tim Elphick thanked the BIA volunteers for their efforts.

He and Mayor Chris Peabody said that option two, using surplus funds from wages for promotions, amounted to a lot of money – $34,000. Peabody suggested capping it at a lower amount – $10,000. That would be in addition to amount remaining in the promotions budget.

Hamilton noted that a donation to the new Market Garden could be considered promotion.

Coun. Steve Adams expressed concern about the lease, and the mayor said he wondered if the building could be sublet.

Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak commented, “I want the BIA to move forward … unencumbered by that large lease so they can focus on projects.”

He suggested the possibility of charging rent for use of the municipal office.

Watson explained that the front meeting room at the municipal office was the space she had in mind, where the BIA person could meet with a director or member. The room is large enough for three or four people.

Elphick asked if the arrangement was “in perpetuity” and suggested revisiting it in June 2022. The general response was that wasn’t long enough to get the BIA off on a solid footing. The mayor suggested looking at the arrangement in two years.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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