The Barry’s Bay Business Improvement Area (BIA) held its AGM on January 16. After four years of service, Ted Williamson and Gerard O’Malley resigned their posts as Chair and Co-Chair respectively although they continue as members. Williamson will remain on the Board as Past President. Derek Yuill was elected as President, while Neil O’Reilly will continue as the BIA Treasurer and Valerie Manion still serves as Secretary of the organization. Other regular attendees at BIA meetings are Councillor Mark Willmer, who will represent MV Council, and MV’s Recreation & Community Development Coordinator, Stephanie Plebon, who is the municipality’s liaison with the BIA.
Yuill said that he will rely on Williamson’s advice and experience as the BIA continues to focus mainly on beautification of the downtown area (hanging baskets, banners, planters) and the annual Bay Day activities. The Board will present its 2019 budget at its next meeting on February 27.
Yuill said plans for this year’s Bay Day will take the popular event in a slightly broader direction thanks to BIA member Marcia Rutledge who offered her assistance at the AGM. Rutledge said that being involved with the sponsored Heritage Walk at the 2018 Bay Day helped her see firsthand that there was a very high proportion of families out shopping and enjoying all the activities. She said it made her think,
We’re missing the mark here. Bay Day needs to cater a bit more to families.
Rutledge has volunteered to organize more family-style pursuits at this year’s event so she is currently researching creative ideas for different types of kid-friendly activities. She said the choice to volunteer was an easy one to make, even for a parent with limited time. She and her husband each run a business and together they have chosen to make Barry’s Bay their home. Because they have a young family, they want the fun things in town to continue so their children can participate.
Both Williamson and Yuill said that volunteers are welcome to help with any BIA activities – to whatever extent their time allows. There is no restriction on the number of Members-at-Large the BIA can have. BIA members receive copies of meeting minutes to keep them informed about what the organization is planning, so they can make suggestions. All members of the community are welcome to follow the organization’s activities on Facebook.