I attended the annual BIABC conference in Kelowna last week. This event is an opportunity for all the BIA’s in BC to get together and chit chat about the good, the bad and the ugly of their respective areas. Let me start off with how much I enjoyed Kelowna. The weather was amazing, the hotel was in the center of downtown and the lakefront provided a scenic backdrop that left me inspired. However, my positive review could be linked to the fact that I escaped my three kids for four days.



  • Walkability & Densification
  • Lessons from a Transportation & Mobility Advocacy Project
  • Community-Based Approaches to the Retail Shift
  • A Safe and Healthy Downtown
  • Developing Bike Culture
  • Homelessness & the Opioid Crisis
  • Media Training 101
  • Revitalizing Laneways: a toolkit for transforming public spaces
  • Property Taxation 101
  • Bizmap: Data Collection and Evaluation
  • Partnerships in Placemaking
  • Social Media Trends
  • Transportation Disruption – Automated Vehicles


Let’s be honest, there is a lot that I do not know. As a result, I loved getting the chance to go back to “school” to absorb all the nuggets of wisdom that the experts spewed out in a jam-packed schedule.


Look out Surrey NowLeader and CBC! The media 101 session made an impact on me and provided several key takeaways. Presenter: Chris Olsen, Vice President, Peak Communicators, former TV and radio host, “Olsen on Your Side” I feel better prepared and confident when pitching a story or handling a media request. I learnt: techniques to succeed in interviews, what the media is really looking for, how to influence the story, how to deal with sudden requests for comment, how to determine if the media opportunity is really a good opportunity and how to better represent myself and the Newton BIA in the media.


Property Taxation 101 At City Hall, will get its own blog in the near future. There is very little agreement about property taxes other than the fact that they are complicated. People will debate the merits of a 1.75% or 2.5% property tax increase for weeks, but if you stop and ask them to explain how property taxes actually work, you’ll get a lot of blanks stares. Elected officials find it all confusing, City staff find it confusing… and so do our members. I did not become an expert in 75 minutes but I learnt the basics of how it all works, it helped me separate the truth from the alternative facts as well as show me how this information and understanding is critical to the health and viability of the neighbourhood and the Newton BIA. Presenters: Paul Sullivan, Senior Partner at Burgess, Crawley, Sullivan & Associates, Ltd.


Bottom line is that every year after the BIA conference I come away with a massive amount of ideas that I would like to implement in Newton. No need to reinvent the wheel there are amazing things happening throughout the province and it will just take a bit of elbow grease to get things rolling.


Vacation is over, back to work!