submitted by Deron Johnston
On Thursday November 30th, the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area (BIA) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the North Grenville Public Library. The evening began with some networking, delicious hot appetizers from O’Heaphy’s Irish Pub and then proceeded into the meeting agenda.
The meeting began with a welcome from BIA Board Chair Shelley Mitchell who then introduced Mayor Nancy Peckford who spoke of the strong relationship between the BIA and Council. She also praised the Kemptville Buskerfest calling it one of North Grenville’s signature events and highlighted other successful BIA programming such as Kreepy Kemptville.
Bonnie Ruddock, the Executive Director of Regional Tourism Organization #9 (RTO 9) was the guest speaker for the evening. Bonnie spoke about the role of RTO 9 and the programming it uses to support tourism initiatives and tourism-based businesses. The audience of about 25 attendees had several questions for Bonnie which she graciously answered before receiving a special gift bag full of local products to thank her for her time.
Next on the agenda was time for the Annual Report given by Chair Shelley Mitchell. The Report touched on several highlights of the past year including the relocation of the BIA office, a new members-only newsletter and the return of the special event Not Just Ladies Night. Board Treasurer Sierra Jones-Martel gave a quick report on the Kemptville Buskerfest and walked everyone through the current financial position of the BIA.
Traditionally, the AGM wouldn’t be complete without the presentation of the draft 2024 BIA budget. The budget presented two versions of the budget with one version including a successful request for municipal funding and the second version excluding municipal funding. One of the key differences between the two versions was that without municipal funding, the BIA would be forced to revert back to a part-time Executive Director.
Treasurer Sierra Jones-Martel finally revealed the secret BIA project that everyone had been waiting for. The secret project was revealed to be a new standalone website for the BIA. A website has been on the BIA’s wishlist for quite some time and it’s now become a reality. The website can be found at www.downtownkemptville.ca. Sierra also showed her “Year In Review” video which has become an AGM tradition. It was a collection of photos and short videos from all of the events and memorable moments of the past year.
To close out the meeting, Shelley thanked everyone for coming, the BIA’s volunteers for all of their hard work throughout the year, and the Library for hosting the meeting. She also specifically thanked Omshanti and Rob Charlebois of Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre for being the home of the BIA’s office for the past three years and the North Grenville Historical Society for agreeing to become its new location.