BIA – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:24:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 A bigger better BIA in 2018 ? http://www.ngtimes.ca/bigger-better-bia-2018/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/bigger-better-bia-2018/#respond Tue, 02 Jan 2018 16:40:51 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10418 by John Barclay When I accepted the position of Executive Director in January of 2016, I was quite frank about how I saw my primary function working with the Old Town Kemptville BIA. I was going to either help “build it or blow it up”. The jury is still out on how successful we’ve been. […]

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by John Barclay

When I accepted the position of Executive Director in January of 2016, I was quite frank about how I saw my primary function working with the Old Town Kemptville BIA. I was going to either help “build it or blow it up”.

The jury is still out on how successful we’ve been. “We” because the current BIA Board of Management is committed to creating much more value to BIA Members and Associate Members than we currently offer. The alternative scenario remains – the status quo is simply untenable; we can’t continue in our current form. The BIA comprises a tiny physical footprint representing no more than 70 to 80 businesses and tries to provide value to all of Downtown Kemptville on a budget of less than $25,000 a year.

As we approach our ten-year anniversary on January 1st, 2018, the question of expanding the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area boundaries to better serve the local business community is attracting not only interest but also support from existing members and potential members alike.

A bit of background is necessary at this point – In 2015, the BIA received matching funds from the Eastern Ontario Development Program to commission a Business, Marketing and Programming Plan from the consulting firm of McSweeney & Associates. In their final report dated July of that year, they recommended: “In order to successfully support the achievement of the Downtown Vision, and achieve greater resident and visitor attraction to both Downtown and to Kemptville, McSweeney and Associates recommends to the Municipality of North Grenville the consideration of a new BIA to be established for the Urban Service Area of Kemptville that includes the current BIA area”. In July of this year an BIA Expansion Steering Committee was struck to identify the potential new boundaries and set a date for one or more formal public information sessions. The Steering Committee, chaired by our Treasurer, Stephen Bent (Manager,CIBC), recently completed an Expansion Prospectus which was approved by the BIA Board of Management for public distribution and discussion two weeks ago.

The Old Town Kemptville BIA has a two-fold aim in proposing boundary expansion: to continue our work reasserting the importance of smart growth for Kemptville and to expand our programs into adjacent areas, where they will add value to property owners and businesses alike. Next steps include meeting with Council and Municipal staff and quickly holding public meetings to determine the degree of interest in proceeding with the proposed boundary changes.

The Expansion Prospectus focuses on lowering the levy per $1,000 of current assessed value from $2.30 to $1.00 while presenting a range of itemized budget items to prospective members. A new Kemptville BIA would see its budget increase from $25,000 to $131,000 based on a lower levy and a larger footprint. It would provide for such things as a regional marketing campaign as well as local advertorials highlighting at least 24 businesses a year; an office with full time staff and a detailed Economic Survey every three years. Put out to tender, this professionally conducted detailed survey would provide members with detailed information about the trading area and customer preferences within it – beyond what is available through Statistics Canada – including people-on-the-street interviews.

All businesses in Kemptville share some common interests. A Kemptville BIA would be a better advocate for economic development within our community, with the goal that employment growth in Kemptville is realized through the retention and expansion of local small business.

The boundaries of the Old Town Kemptville BIA were created over ten years ago. Since then there has been significant growth in North Grenville and we will see even more commercial growth over the next 5 years. A new more effective Kemptville Business Improvement Area should be in in place to meet this challenge.

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BIA Downtown Celebrates http://www.ngtimes.ca/bia-downtown-celebrates/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/bia-downtown-celebrates/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 19:31:19 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9901 by John Barclay In her Annual Report to members of the BIA on Wednesday, November 15, Deb Wilson (Chair) highlighted the growth of several existing businesses and the growing number of new businesses that established themselves downtown this year. This year, Downtown Kemptville saw the expansion of Array Hair Studio, the Dill Flower Studio and […]

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by John Barclay

In her Annual Report to members of the BIA on Wednesday, November 15, Deb Wilson (Chair) highlighted the growth of several existing businesses and the growing number of new businesses that established themselves downtown this year.

This year, Downtown Kemptville saw the expansion of Array Hair Studio, the Dill Flower Studio and Voice2Net, and welcomed many new businesses, including the professional engineers of ISI Controls Inc.; Setanta Solutions Inc, another professional IT service; Exit Realty By Design and the Integrated Business Solutions Group.

The new growth downtown hasn’t all been just professional services, however. We’ve seen new investment downtown – new owners of the mixed martial arts studio (formerly Tekken MMA), new owners of the Brewing Oasis, as well as new owners of the South Branch Bistro (formerly the Branch Restaurant) and the Clothier Mills Motel on Clothier Street. The Bowen Approach is now located at 3 Clothier, and Get Cronk’d, a new fitness business, opened at 9 Clothier at the beginning of the year. GlowSport – Kemptville, The Glow Entertainment Company, opened at 29 Clothier Street East.

By the Prescott Bridge, both 10A and 10B Prescott are now occupied. This location, Hustle & Heart, also serves as the downtown address for Willow & Rose and Nowtaskr. The Prim Shed at 419 Rideau Street, and New Energy Kreations renovated a showroom at 132 Prescott, have greatly improved the streetscape of that section of Prescott.

There’s more to come in the months ahead, too. That’s why the BIA wanted to take a breath and pause to celebrate the ongoing revival of downtown on December 1 with Four Grand Openings and Two Open Houses in one day. Below is the schedule for the afternoon.

Kemptville Kids Pediatric Therapy Services, 200 Prescott Street: 12:00 noon (Ribbon Cutting). This is a new business launched by Kim Bennett (a Speech-Language Pathologist) and Kimberley Smalridge (a Pediatric Physiotherapist) through the Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Program. It is a one-stop pediatric therapy centre for children and their families to access needed speech and physical therapy services locally.

Richardson Hair Design and 2bu Artistry – Grand Openings & Shared Open House, 201 Prescott Street: 1pm (Ribbon Cutting); Open House 5:00pm – 8:00pm. Stephanie Richardson (Richardson Hair Design) and Megan J. Roberts (2bu Artistry) took over the space previously occupied by the Array Hair Studio to service their growing clientele with hair and make-up services and products.

Posh Plum Decor – Grand Opening & Open House, 207 Prescott Street: 1:30 pm (Ribbon Cutting); followed by an Open House until 7pm. Posh Plum Decor is located in the historic former Carnegie Library, lovingly restored by the owner, Ann Shafer. It carries a wide variety of unique gift items, shabby chic home decor and displays original works by talented local artists.

Deb Wilson, Chair, Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area, believes the pop-up shop idea is perfect for Downtown Kemptville: “Innovative ideas like Pop-Up Shops help bring together building owners and those wishing to launch businesses. It is even more worthwhile since is it being conducted in partnership with local business-minded businesses who care deeply about the future of our downtown.”

Come celebrate the ongoing revival of Kemptville’s downtown on December 1!

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Shop, Dine, Explore Downtown Kemptville http://www.ngtimes.ca/shop-dine-explore-downtown-kemptville-3/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/shop-dine-explore-downtown-kemptville-3/#comments Thu, 06 Jul 2017 20:00:22 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=6968 by John Barclay, Executive Director of the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area On June 28 I attended the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affair’s Teeny Tiny Summit in Merrickville. The summit was an opportunity to learn and discuss “scale appropriate” economic development. For all our much vaunted urban-style amenities, Kemptville is still […]

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by John Barclay, Executive Director of the Old Town Kemptville Business
Improvement Area

On June 28 I attended the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affair’s Teeny Tiny Summit in Merrickville. The summit was an opportunity to learn and discuss “scale appropriate” economic development. For all our much vaunted urban-style amenities, Kemptville is still very much a small rural town, with all the typical development problems of other teeny tiny places, so I was very interested in attending.

The keynote speaker was Peter Kenyon, a self described “social capitalist and community enthusiast” from Western Australia. A dynamic speaker, he shared a number of amazing examples of how very small rural communities had transformed themselves from the inside out using imaginative, positive thinking community members rather than government-driven programs or philanthropy, The range of ideas and projects initiated by ordinary citizens to turn their community’s economy around was truly inspiring. Not that these ideas can be replicated successfully in other communities. Each found their own unique solution to declining population and job loss. The “take away” was the power of positive thinking and the confirmation that “People who care are a community’s greatest asset” (Paul Born).

I was reminded of what our community has accomplished through the vision and dedication of ordinary people; of what the Friends of the Library and the Friends of Ferguson Forest have accomplished; of what the various faith communities in North Grenville have built, and I started to wonder what might be accomplished in Kemptville by Friends of Downtown. Could it be, as Peter Kenyon suggested a number of times, that “we are the ones we’re waiting for” to create a vibrant, thriving and resilient economy downtown?

The community of Oxford Mills got tired of waiting for the Municipality to replace the gazebo in Maplewood Park and did it themselves. Take a look at what they accomplished by having a vision and a belief in themselves. Great things can happen when people get together. When they share their talents, time and treasure in the service of an idea.

Does North Grenville want a walkable, bicycle-friendly downtown, with adequate parking; an outdoor rink and splash pad in Riverside Park; a trail running along the South Branch connecting Ferguson Forest to the downtown parks (Curry, Rotary, Post Office and Riverside)? Does it want to preserve and celebrate its unique history and its built heritage? Do we want to retain and increase the number of unique businesses downtown?

This is a call to action to those with a positive outlook – to find others who share their vision of the type of downtown they want. Start figuring out a way to bring it about. The BIA has a Facebook page you can post to – find it at: www.facebook.com/OldTownKemptvilleBIA. We publish a weekly newsletter, subscribe to it here: eepurl.com/bnqf85. Both will provide you with information about issues and events downtown, like the Open House regarding the Rideau-Sanders-Prescott Community Improvement Plan and the Downtown Pop-Up Shop program on July 12 (3 pm to 5 pm) in the Library (1 Water St.) Start a conversation with a neighbour or friend. There are some things money can’t buy, and one of them is community. Community has to be built and built by participation.

Stop waiting for someone or something else to make things better. Let’s GitR Dun!

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BIA a possibility for Merrickville http://www.ngtimes.ca/bia-a-possibility-for-merrickville/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/bia-a-possibility-for-merrickville/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:48:16 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=6625 A group of business owners have come together to look at the possibility of creating a Business Improvement Area [BIA] in Merrickville. A BIA is a group of local business people who join together to organize, finance and carry out physical improvements, and promote economic development in their area. It is legislated through the Municipal […]

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A group of business owners have come together to look at the possibility of creating a Business Improvement Area [BIA] in Merrickville. A BIA is a group of local business people who join together to organize, finance and carry out physical improvements, and promote economic development in their area. It is legislated through the Municipal Act, and it has many rules, regulations and procedures that it needs to follow. Every business and property owner within the footprint of the BIA pays a levy based on their MPAC assessment, and, therefore, has a say in creating the budget and outlining what projects the BIA takes on each year.

“What a BIA brings to Merrickville is long-term sustainable funding for things like streetscape, signage and promotion of events and businesses,” says Anne Barr, owner of Nana B’s bakery on Main Street.

Right now, the Municipality of Merrickville-Wolford pays $12,000 for streetscaping and general maintenance in the Village every year, which is taken out of the general tax levy. It can be argued that this is not fair for people who live in the rural areas of the Municipality, who don’t see the benefits of streetscaping in the Village. “Part of the reason for a BIA is that the people who benefit from the service should be paying for it,” Anne says. “As business owners, we have the opportunity to pass that BIA cost on to the customers, rather than putting it on the shoulders of the tax payers.”

There has been some concern among business owners about how much a BIA would affect their tax levy. Joan Spencer, owner of the Sidecar Café and Chair of the BIA temporary steering committee, assures that the financial impact would be minimal, and worthwhile for BIA members. As an example, she estimates that with a budget of $25,000, her own levy for her property on Main Street would only be $200 per year. “When you think of how many businesses and commercial buildings there are, you’re not going to be paying a large amount,” she says.

Another concern that has been raised is the ability of a BIA and Chamber of Commerce to co-exist in the municipality. It has been pointed out that a BIA and Chamber have different mandates and roles within a business community, and that there is no reason why they would not be able to work together. While a Chamber of Commerce is meant to facilitate networking, to educate and advocate on behalf of its members, a BIA is a much more of a “bricks and mortar” type of organization, which focuses mainly on the beautification and maintenance of municipally owned areas within the BIA’s footprint.

Having a BIA could free up the money that the Chamber is currently using for things like flags, signage, and village maps, to be used for networking events and promoting the wider range of businesses in Merrickville-Wolford. Merrickville-Wolford CAO, John Regan, has worked with many Chambers and BIAs throughout his career and says it is a rarity that they have an issue co-existing. “I have seen very good examples of BIAs and Chambers working together,” he says.

To set up a BIA, there is a prescribed process, with a formal presentation to council, and letters going out to everyone affected. Once the letter stating the intention to set up a BIA is received, the recipient has 60 days to send in any objection in writing. If over 30% of people vote against the BIA, it does not go ahead.

The current goal of the temporary steering committee is education. They are trying to get in touch with all the businesses and landlords to let them know what a BIA is, how it works, and how they will be affected. “We want people to be able to make an informed decision,” Joan says.

One of the ways they are hoping to spread this information is through a public meeting at the end of June. They have invited the executive director of the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, Kay Matthews, to come and speak to the public about BIAs and their role in places like Merrickville. Joan says they will also be able to present the proposed footprint of the BIA at the meeting, as well as a sample budget to give people a concrete idea about how much they may be paying each year.

The steering committee is coming at this project slowly and cautiously. They want to do their due diligence and make sure as few feathers are ruffled as possible throughout the process. If all goes well, they are hoping to have a BIA set up in the Village sometime next year.

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A hopping good time http://www.ngtimes.ca/a-hopping-good-time/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/a-hopping-good-time/#respond Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:43:48 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=4956 It was a beautiful sunny day as the Old Town Kemptville BIA hosted their Easter Bunny Trail from 10 am to 1 pm this past Saturday, April 8, in Downtown Kemptville. Parents, grandparents and 150 kids participated in the event, which had kids collecting treats at thirteen different businesses in the downtown area. Everything kicked […]

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It was a beautiful sunny day as the Old Town Kemptville BIA hosted their Easter Bunny Trail from 10 am to 1 pm this past Saturday, April 8, in Downtown Kemptville. Parents, grandparents and 150 kids participated in the event, which had kids collecting treats at thirteen different businesses in the downtown area.

Everything kicked off at the North Grenville Public Library, where each family got a map of all of the locations that were giving out treats and each child got an Easter bag to put their treats in. There was something for the adults too. If they collected signatures at each stop, they could get their name put into a draw for a gift basket with lots of goodies, provided by various downtown businesses.

Several Easter Bunny sightings were made, as the wascally wabbit hopped his way around Prescott, Clothier and Sanders Streets, distributing high fives, hugs and drawing excited smiles from kids of all ages.

The BIA had a volunteer crossing guard that helped families cross the street at the corner of Prescott and Clothier. There are still people getting used to the three way stop that was installed there, so people were grateful for the help.

Hopefully, the BIA will continue to have these types of events, as it seems to give families a good look at all of the businesses that are in the downtown area. There are lots of changes happening downtown, so if you haven’t been there in a few months, you may see something completely new that wasn’t there before, or that something may have moved to another location.

BIA Executive Director, John Barclay, said that “everyone seemed to be having a great time, and it’s another opportunity to show off historic downtown Kemptville to the families of North Grenville”. John added that he wanted to thank all of the merchants and volunteers who helped to make the event such a success.

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Hippity Hoppity Easter’s on its way! http://www.ngtimes.ca/hippity-hoppity-easters-on-its-way/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/hippity-hoppity-easters-on-its-way/#respond Wed, 05 Apr 2017 19:01:12 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=4782 Merchants in Downtown Kemptville invite everyone to visit them and pick up a ballot for an Easter Basket Draw. No purchase necessary but you’ll need seven initials from participating merchants for the ballot to be valid. The BIA Easter Basket contains a variety of items and gift certificates from businesses downtown. For the kids, get […]

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Merchants in Downtown Kemptville invite everyone to visit them and pick up a ballot for an Easter Basket Draw. No purchase necessary but you’ll need seven initials from participating merchants for the ballot to be valid. The BIA Easter Basket contains a variety of items and gift certificates from businesses downtown. For the kids, get them started traveling down the Easter Bunny Trail by picking up their Easter Bunny Bag and Bunny Trail Map at the North Grenville Public Library at 10 am on April 8. Come back anytime between 10 am and 1pm for a special crafts with Library Sue. Also, look for the Easter Bunny Trail sign in participating merchants ‘windows for other treats and/or activities along the Bunny Trail in Downtown Kemptville.

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Not on the radar http://www.ngtimes.ca/not-on-the-radar/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/not-on-the-radar/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:00:00 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=4299 I sat down with a downtown Kemptville resident this week in a local coffee shop. I asked him what subject was important to him, one that he wishes someone would talk about in the North Grenville Times. His response was that it seems like there’s a lot of uncertainty around downtown Kemptville and its future […]

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I sat down with a downtown Kemptville resident this week in a local coffee shop. I asked him what subject was important to him, one that he wishes someone would talk about in the North Grenville Times. His response was that it seems like there’s a lot of uncertainty around downtown Kemptville and its future these days. He said that he wished that people who lived downtown and were on limited income knew what was happening in the downtown area, so that they knew what their futures might hold. Rarely does it appear that we consider how our ‘big plans’ impact those people who are the most vulnerable and least mobile in our community. There are a number of situations affecting downtown that are currently up in the air, and there seems to be little information being shared about their status.

For example, many have asked about the fate of Kemptville Landing, the two condominiums towers that were to be built by the LA Group in downtown Kemptville. There was a ground breaking last year, but still no work being done. The hope was that this would bring a large number of people to live in the downtown area and increase foot traffic for local businesses. The project seems to have hit several roadblocks along the way, including a re-design of the buildings and property. This is also uncharted waters for the municipality, in terms of increasing population density in downtown Kemptville on such a large scale. So far, though, all we really know for sure is that not even one of the two towers has materialized.

Kemptville Campus is another issue that would affect downtown. It’s still unknown whether the municipality will be able to buy the campus from the Provincial Government. If they do, will they stick to the business plan that they paid a lot of money for, or go in a new direction? One has to wonder how long it will take to attract enough tenants to be able to cover the cost of buying and operating the campus. Maybe there are some possible tenants lined up already? There’s lots of rumours about who might, or might not, be interested.

Another piece to the puzzle is the state of the underground infrastructure (water and sewer). It apparently needs a very big investment to get it functioning properly. Some people believe that the municipality may have to sell off some of the campus land in order to pay for the work. North Grenville CAO, Brian Carré, said that he expects to have an update on the Kemptville College situation at the end of March.

There’s also the issue surrounding the ongoing empty commercial spaces in Downtown Kemptville. The Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area [BIA] seems to be making efforts to try and make things happen, but their attempts to solicit help from council and the municipality seem to be falling on deaf ears. The BIA’s pop-up shop program is an attempt to attract businesses to fill the empty spaces in downtown, but the program seems to be stalled, as the BIA looks for the funding necessary to help launch it. Some people believe that downtown is dead and money is just being wasted on it at this point. However, there seems to be a lot of positive activity happening for an area that some people have written off. Just this week, we learned that an Eastern Ontario firm called ISI Controls Inc. has leased the empty space at 113 Prescott Street for three years, and could have as many as ten employees moving in on April 1.

If all of these situations turned out positively, then surely downtown property values would go up? If property values went up, then the current property owners, who have been sitting on properties without maintaining or improving them, or even trying to bring in tenants, would logically look to sell. If they did, there’s a very good chance that residential rents would go up, with new property owners having paid more for those properties. Would the new owners even want to have rental properties? The municipality and council would be happy, because they would collect more property tax because of the higher property values. But what about people on fixed incomes who can’t afford their current hydro bills and now must pay more rent? I doubt anyone seriously considered that possibility. Then again, it rarely seems like people with limited means get much consideration in North Grenville.

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