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With no board members, Jackson’s Point BIA could go dormant

BIA seeking fresh faces, new voices
Jan. 27, 2020
Amanda Persico

The Jackson’s Point BIA is a crossroads --find a new board or go into dormancy.

And local residents, shoppers and historic district patrons will miss out on the many events hosted by the local BIA group.

Longtime Georgina resident and business improvement area chairperson, Steve Jacobson, is stepping down from his BIA post.

Jacobson announced the move in a recent Facebook post.

“It is time for some new people with new ideas and new goals to take the reins and move this village forward,” his post reads.

Along with the BIA chairperson position, there are a number of board positions open. If the positions are not filled by the AGM Feb. 12, the BIA would become dormant.

Along with beautification of the historic downtown and marketing Jackson’s Point as a tourist destination, the BIA also hosted a number of events such as movies, music, lights and yoga in the parkette, street festivals and the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

Without a new board in place, those events would not happen this year, Jacobson said in an interview with the Georgina Advocate.

“Those would disappear,” he said. “We need someone passionate about the area.”

But the one event he promises will continue separate from the BIA board is the annual Painted Perch Festival.

The Jackson’s Point BIA, one of three business improvement areas in Georgina, is taxed with keeping the historic downtown area alive and bustling.

But the challenge in Georgina is the relatively small number of businesses in the downtown areas.

About a dozen businesses are part of the Jackson’s Point BIA and the BIA is struggling, Jacobson said.

“Businesses come and go,” he said. “But the issues are ongoing and there hasn’t been a lot of major changes. But more and more people are turning their summer cottages into permanent homes.”

BIAs liaise between the town and businesses when it comes to grant funding and act as a single voice when dealing with common issues.

BIAs play a vital role in helping the town revitalize these transitioning areas, said the town’s economic development manager, Karyn Stone.

“They’ve done a significant amount of work in the area,” Stone said of the Jackson’s Point BIA. “And with a shoestring budget.”

Given the current situation, having a BIA board in place is better than not having a board, Stone said.

“A smaller board could mean less events,” she said. “However, the makeup, the interests of Jackson’s Point will not be lost.”

While a fulsome BIA board is ideal, the town’s economic development office is prepared to work with any number and makeup of board members, Stone said.

That could mean amending BIA bylaws, she added.

“At best, we want to keep the board operational,” she said. “We want to see Jackson’s Point grow.”

The Jackson’s Point BIA is essential in the area, given its proximity to the harbour and to various beaches, she added.

The Jackson’s Point BIA board is hosting its annual general meeting Feb. 12. The deadline for applications to be part of the new BIA board is Jan. 31.