Downtown BIA vote: Time for a new direction?


I have written a number of posts about our downtown over the past couple of years. I believe it should be the heart and soul of this community. In the 15 years I’ve lived here it never has been. So I may as well weigh in on the upcoming election of the new downtown BIA board of directors. I was actually thinking of finding someone to nominate me and run for a position myself. This is one board that I would like to be on. I feel our downtown has been mismanaged for many years, I think the way they do business needs a complete rethink. Unfortunately my work schedule and upcoming job commitments would not allow me to put enough time into this volunteer position.

I believe our downtown should be run like a shopping mall with unified hours, that would include the banks. If not the same hours as the stores maybe they should all get together and figure out standard opening and closing hours across the board. I deal with a couple of banks downtown and I never know when they are open or closed. I also think this whole idea of keeping the banks downtown these days with internet banking, is old fashioned, outdated thinking. The odd time when I do have to go downtown to do banking, visit my lawyer or accountant, it’s a complete pain in my ass and I never visit other stores. I am too busy rushing back to my car to avoid a parking ticket (my bad!!!) When I do go downtown by choice I walk. Normally for social activities, to have a meal, a drink, a coffee or attend one of the many festivals going on during the year 🙂

It didn’t take Chadwick long to attempt to weasel himself back into a position of influence. He got his buddy Rick Lloyd to nominate him through Smarts Flowers for a position on the board. I guess Rick has finally realized after the last election that his brand has now turned a little toxic around town. So as Lloyd and his cronies are apt to do, if you can’t run yourself put someone else in a position and wield your power by proxy. I have spoken to numerous people that have been on various boards and committee’s with Mr. Chadwick. Without getting too far into it and putting it as mildly as I possibly can, he is rather difficult sometimes to work with. I will leave the rest to your imagination.

Betty Donaher is running, I like Betty, I wish she had done better in the municipal election. I actually spoke to her for the first time a month or so ago she made me laugh when she told me that I “scare her“ not sure why. If you actually take some time to listen to what Betty has to say about local issues, she makes a lot of sense. I will not go as far as to indorse her, because the last time I did that she came in dead last. But if you own one of the 400 or so businesses that are eligible to vote in this election if you do nothing else, contact Betty and listen to her ideas. She comes across as a little gruff and abrupt at first, but she is a very smart lady.

This board needs some new blood the following people have never been elected on it before and are running for the first time:

Patricia Boyce, Charles Brand, Laurie Cameron, David Conning, Melanie Du Planty, Nancy Esson, Sara Fragomeni and Janick Lemieux.

I know nothing about any of the above people. I am very interested to hear what their vision for downtown is. My email address is colinwills@rogers.com. I will publish anything that I receive regarding this election on this blog.

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3 thoughts on “Downtown BIA vote: Time for a new direction?

  1. Nobody, I know that I am going to feel the ire of both Rick and yourself. Some of your comments are valid, but not necessarily fair. As a past board member for some 13+ years in the mid 80’s to late 90’s it is like deja vu in reading your comments (ie uniform store hours, parking). I agree with your comment that the downtown is the heart of a community. It has always been a battle to have people step up and put their names forth to run on the Board of Management…..this time is very encouraging. I haven’t always agreed with decisions made by the Board, however in their defense they can only do so much when the majority of business members can’t even take 1 night to attend our AGM where the year’s budget and ideas are presented. As mentioned Board members are volunteers who also have their own business to attend to and in many cases they can be committees of 1. In response to Rick’s comment “we are only focused on the downtown…..that is our mandate as per Ministry of Municipal Affairs….there is nothing stopping 1st Street or the Western node to form their own BIA. I know there have been times that we have done events with our community partners. YES, we can always do better and hopefully the new Board comes to the table with some new ideas……
    Please google “Ministry of Muncipal Affairs – BIA Handbook”…..it might provide a better insight of what a BIA does.

  2. Colin I agree with your assessment of the downtown core and as a candidate for Council last fall I spoke to those very same issues at the BIA sponsored all candidates meeting. I do not believe the BIA should be focused only on the downtown core. Their tendency has been to treat the retail sector on the west side of Collingwood and the Village at Blue as adversaries. Rather, we should be cohesively leveraging all of the area’s attractions and businesses to drive our economy. The zoning pertaining to banks remaining on Huronatrio Street is outdated. As we move more and more towards a digital currency, I suspect we will see a major change in bricks and mortar banking in the years ahead. They are no longer the anchor to economic activity in the downtown core.
    In reading the BIA candidates various election messages there is a lot of the same rhetoric about holding events and various other promotions as being the key to driving traffic downtown. I am afraid that is old ineffective thinking that will not address the fundamentals of what’s wrong. Until things such as hours of business etc. are addressed, the downtown is still going to struggle to generate traffic. I drove down Hurontario Street this afternoon (Sunday) at 4:30 and it was dead as most stores were closed. It’s the weekend and we are in the heart of the ski season with the area full of visitors. As an example, there are three jewellery stores of Hurontario and all three have different hours with one opening at 9:00am one at 9:30am and one at 10:00am. Not amount of ice sculptures, clowns, jugglers, street performers or other attractions are going to draw people to a downtown core that simply isn’t open for business. Somethings gotta change!

  3. Since I am also a new comer to Collingwood,10 years, you have to take my comments with a grain of salt. I agree with you our downtown should be run differently but electing ex councillors to the BIA is a mistake. New blood is a necessity, the town is changing and new younger ideas are required as we look forward.

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