The Board of Management (Board) of the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area (BIA) was faced with more difficult choices for 2022. The challenges presented by the pandemic were still impacting too many BIA members, so the Board deliberated on the best way to both try and move forward but at the same time to make sure that no one felt left behind. 

Over the past three years, some of the decisions made by the Board were based in the stark reality of the moment and that meant making some strategic sacrifices along the way. Watching fellow business owners as they encountered financial hardships, closed their doors for extended periods of time, laid off staff, reduced their hours, reduced their product & service offerings etc. was a glaring indication that our members, friends and colleagues desperately needed help. This led the Board to make the right or moral decision to focus on increasing member support rather than turning a blind eye to their suffering. 

This resulted in a number of changes including prioritizing the increased flow of information. One of these priorities was the change of the monthly BIA newsletter to a more focused weekly news source. News and information were changing rapidly and the Board felt it was critical that members needed to have the latest information at their fingertips. Providing the latest news on everything from government funding opportunities to the latest health unit protocols to local business support programming became the focus of both the BIA newsletter and the BIA’s social media channels. 

Ultimately, the Board decided to continue supporting BIA members as we had done throughout the pandemic to date, but also ambitiously decided to try and seize the opportunity to leverage the community’s unprecedented investment in large-scale community events in 2022. The goal was to leverage this community investment to drive increased tourism-based traffic to downtown businesses potentially giving BIA members a healthy financial boost. 

Policy Development 

Policy development was one key areas of the BIA’s workplan for 2022. This led to the addition of new policies, including a Procurement Policy and a Social Media Policy. Additionally, there was extensive work done on updating the BIA’s Code of Conduct and the BIA’s Governance. This work was a heavy time commitment, but the Board was quite happy with the end results. 

One particular accomplishment of this year’s Board was the development of a new Diversity, Inclusivity and Equality Policy for the BIA. Not originally part of the policy development goals for the year, an opportunity presented itself to show leadership in the community on a very important subject and the Board jumped in with both feet. Despite a lack of local resources to help shape the policy, the Board felt it was a critical area that needed to be addressed in a very thoughtful way. The Board looked to the future and developed the policy with the intention that it was to be a living document that could be adapted and updated in consultation with the Municipality of North Grenville.


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