BIA President brings Strategic Plan update to Council

April 15, 2015

Town Council

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Jeff Carver, President of the Port Elgin Business Improvement Association (BIA), brought forward the group's 2015 updated Strategic Plan to Saugeen Shores Town Council meeting on April 13th.

The plan focuses on seven areas ... beautification, promotion, working with partners, links, group marketing & cross promotion, organization of events and communication.

The BIA has 75 members and a Board of eight who have, as a group, become very active in the revitalization of the Port Elgin downtown core and has developed goals and action plans. 

Over the past four years, the group has reached many aspects of its goals, including beautification through the purchase of streetscape furnishings, planters, decorative Christmas lights and new Maple trees for planting along Goderich Street.

Carver also raised the subject of the small Farmers' Market in the heart of downtown Port Elgin and how it continues to grow and be successful.  "This market is a showcase of what our area has to offer," said Carver, "from artisans, farmers and small businesses, we are able to offer the community a great mix of what makes us great."

The market is unique in that all vendors must be approved based on products that are made, baked, grown, raised, caught or harvested by the vendors themselves.  They are small local entrepreneurs who make what the sell.

While vendors, for the most part, are required to pay a fee to the Town, Carver maintains that for the small Farmers' Market vendors, that fee of $175 would be prohibitive and the one-day market would make it almost impossible for the vendors to make any kind of a profit.

He also pointed out that the Market draws visitors to the downtown core resulting in local merchants receiving spin-off business and that many also travel to and from the Beach area on a shuttle bus that helps to cut down on traffic congestion and parking problems in the downtown core.

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BIA President
Jeff Carver
While the BIA faces challenges, such as getting all members on board and finding more volunteers, meeting budget challenges and overcoming red tape, keeping storefronts open and working to achieve uniform store hours, Carver would also like to see an expansion.  Such an expansion would encompass the area from the 10th Concession in the north to the 6th concession at the south end of Port Elgin.

The updated Strategic Plan also set out proposed enhancement of partnerships with groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Enterprise Centre, the Southampton BIA and Spruce the Bruce to make the Saugeen Shores a Desired destination.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015