Big shoes to fill


by the Board of Management of the Old Town Kemptville BIA

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area (BIA). Buskerfest blew through town and was a wild success. After months of arduous work from the organizing committee and dedicated volunteers, in excess of 7,000 people attended. They enjoyed great weather (finally!) and the excellent family entertainment provided by a variety of skilled buskers. Many thanks to our title sponsor Urbandale Construction and all the generous contributions from other community-minded businesses in North Grenville.

The BIA Board of Management completed a draft of the BIA’s 2024-2025 Business Plan and presented it to the membership on May 29. Going forward, the Board is committed to exploring ways in which the BIA can become more self-reliant; not having to depend on funds from the Municipality to help cover administrative costs. The Board is also committed to building on the success of Buskerfest with less reliance on Municipal grants. The full 2024-2025 Business Plan can be downloaded from our website at

Finally, our Executive Director, Deron Johnston, submitted his resignation to pursue an opportunity in Orillia as their BIA’s Executive Director. Upon news that he was leaving, there was an outpouring of thanks from residents and business owners for his efforts in promoting, not just the downtown, but the entire community. His farewell party on May 23 at Salamanders was packed, with well-wishers spilling out to the patio. There was a lot of laughter, and not a few tears, as people expressed their appreciation and fondness for him. Over the past decade, Deron has made many friends. 

He has certainly made an impact on this community, too. Two weeks ago, there was a Letter to the Editor that expressed it very well. “ He volunteered (often as a Board Member) with many community organizations. These include The Oxford Mills Community Association, the Kemptville Farmers’ Market, Beth Donovan Hospice, and the Kemptville Youth Centre. He served on the Community Economic Development Advisory Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Advisory Committee.” Deron will leave a giant hole in this community. He will be missed.

The question now is, “Who will fill the vacant position of Executive Director?” The job posting is already online at Interested applicants may submit a cover letter and resume outlining qualification, in confidence, to by June 18, 2024, no later than 4 p.m. EST. Reporting to the Chair of the BIA’s Board of Management, the Executive Director is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization in accordance with the strategic direction set out by the board of directors in the 2024 Business Plan:

This position requires strong leadership qualities and excellent communication skills, including both written and verbal; the ability to effectively market local businesses; they must be computer and social media literate; be self-motivated and able to work effectively on a team, as well as independently.

If this is you, we’d love to hear from you.


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