Beach BIA changing with the times

Change is inevitable. The degree and pace with which things are changing is staggering. And for the most part, we are not in control of those changes on our own behalf, but instead are immersed in the changes that are going on around us – we’re simply required to adapt and adopt to keep up.

In the transition to the knowledge economy, there was time and opportunity to make these shifts gradually, when and as people and organizations were ready to make the leap.

The next transition, however, isn’t as gradual nor is it nearly as optional. The next transition is more than a social economy; it’s an organization of collective will. Never before has the power of the masses had such control and influence. Individuals as consumers are taking control of the direction of business.

The Beach BIA is undertaking a number of initiatives with this in mind.

Our foray into social media started about two years ago. We’ve been steadily building an online community (join thousands who ‘like’ www.facebook.com/BeachBIA and hundreds who ‘follow’ twitter.com/ TheBeachBuddy) and now we’re looking to reinvent our online presence. The current website at www.beachbia.com or www.beachesbia.com (yes, we’re still using both) is going through an overhaul. Not just the look and feel of the site, but the technology behind it, the information it provides and the interactivity it will offer. We’re changing to suit the times. We’re excited to announce that the new website is coming this summer and we’re looking forward to engaging with the Beach community in a whole new way.

We’ve also created a ‘Great Tenants Committee’. This group is charged with identifying gaps in the business mix within the BIA and finding ways to attract more of the kinds of businesses we need here. The committee put out a survey asking Beachers to weigh in on the current situation and provide input and suggestions to the team. Carole Stimmell, editor of Beach Metro News, wrote a great article on the survey results in its last issue. The results can be found by going to www.beachesbia.com/surveyresults/. Conversations about our business area can be heard throughout the neighbourhood – we’re looking to host these and many other conversations through social media and our website. More to come soon.

Lastly, we’ve been making great strides toward achieving our core initiatives. In 2008, the BIA Board embarked on a Strategic Planning exercise. We identified approximately 150 initiatives that were either recurring, in progress or under consideration. With a small, volunteer Board and a staff of one person, we knew it would be impossible to achieve everything. We worked to define the strategic direction of the BIA, the mission and vision for the future. With that, we set out to establish 12 core initiatives to begin taking us there. These included:
• Developing the BIA Strategy
• Introducing an annual Family Day festival
• Eradicating graffiti throughout the BIA
• Creating a Shop The Beach/Shop Local campaign
• Long-term Urban Design Sponsorship Plan
• Gateway Markers and Banners
• Utility Box Project
• Communication & Liaison Program
• New Benches & Hanging Planters
• Event Participation and Sponsorship
• Challenging outdated ‘Beach-only’ by-laws
• Increasing the number of parking spots in the area

This year, with a larger board and our single staff role split between two people, we’re setting out to revisit our strategy and establish our core initiatives for the next few years. We’ll keep you posted.
As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please feel free to contact us at execdirector@BeachBIA.com.

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