See sessions throughout the conference colour coded by topic as follows:

Space Management/Placemaking

Health/Safety/Social Services


Urban Planning/Transportation

Economic Development

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

8:00am – 8:45am

Breakfast and Networking

8:45am – 10am

Panel Discussion: Homelessness & the Opioid Crisis

Hear from:

  1. Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Co-Chair – Journey Home Task Force and a professor at the Okanagan School of Business
  2. Inspector Rob Thorarinson, Operations Officer at the Kelowna detachment, RCMP
  3. Andrew Kerr, Team leader for the mobile Safe Consumption Services and OAT program,  Interior Health Authority
  4. Ann Howard, Regional Director, BC Housing 
  5. Ron Beahun, On Street Services Manager, Downtown Kelowna Association

on how Kelowna is handling homelessness & the opioid crisis and for an open mic question and answer session.

10:00am – 10:30am

Networking Refreshment Break

10:00am – 12:00pm

Mobile Tours (Advanced registration required; space is limited)

1. Walkability & Densification

Designing a Downtown that everyone wants to work, live, shop and play in is no easy task. Join us for a walking tour that explores how the City is making urban densification, walkability and funky alleyways the new “black”, attracting new buyers, investors and citizens.

2. A Safe and Healthy Downtown
Presence and communication set the path for Downtown On Call to be a prominent part in the shaping of a safe and healthy Downtown. Come for a walk and discover how various resources have banded together to meet the needs of the current social climate, and the role Downtown On Call has played to bring community, business and social service together.

10:30am -11:45am

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

1. Disruptive Technologies in Lighting

Reducing utility bills is just one way that LED lighting can help businesses save money. Ben Gardiner from BC Hydro will discuss commercial applications for LED lighting, share case studies of businesses that have made the switch, and explain how to access BC Hydro incentives for lighting retrofits.

Presenters: Ben Gardner, BC Hydro

2. Media Training 101: How to be the Best Spokesperson for Your BIA

Feel better prepared and confident when pitching a story or handling a media request. You’ll learn: techniques to succeed in interviews every time, what 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 for you and your organization, how to better represent your organization in the media
Chris Olsen, Vice President, Peak Communicators, former TV and radio host, “Olsen on Your Side”

3. Revitalizing Laneways: a toolkit for transforming public spaces

The More Awesome Now laneway project is an experimental approach to urban design that reshapes existing laneways. Reconfiguring these into vibrant recreational, commercial, and performance spaces injects a new type of fine-grain activity into the urban commons, increasing the public pedestrian area and creating opportunities for engagement and connection.

Presenter: Tara Gloster, Placemaking Lead at Downtown

Vancouver BIA

12pm – 1:00pm

Lunch & Networking

1:00pm to 1:30pm

International Downtowns Association Update Session


1:30pm - 4:30pm

Mobile Tours (Advanced registration required)

1. Tech is the New Black
Explore the growth and development of the Kelowna tech industry in the Downtown core and learn how you can work with community partners and various levels of government to help cultivate tech in your community.

2. Developing Bike Culture

The City of Kelowna is bringing bikeshare to the City. Tour around Downtown and learn how new technology is decreasing the barriers to traditional bikesharing. Explore how this type of service can act as a potential solution to common BIA challenges like parking, supporting densification, understanding travel behavior, and supporting tourism.

3. Explore Rutland

When your BIA has a highway running through it, you’re faced with significant challenges. The biggest challenge is to strike a balance between the needs of pedestrians, shoppers, business owners, and residents with the needs of through traffic both auto and large trucks. Welcome to Rutland!  Are you up for a challenge? We invite you, the ones that govern, support and work the BIA’S to join us on a tour. We’ll be looking for feedback on where you think Rutland’s Town Centre should be.  We have Hollywood Station, Willow Park Shopping Centre, Plaza 33 on all Hwy 33 and then there are the side streets that make up Rutland’s BIA. 


Concurrent Breakout Sessions

1. Member Engagement Creates Partnerships

How a carefully crafted crisis management plan can bring the City to the negotiating table. The Yaletown BIA faced a crisis this year when City planners announced they would strip 50% of street parking to create a fire lane. The BIA marshalled is resources, its friends and its partners to fight the city on the plan and create a media storm that resulted in the City of Vancouver cooperating with the Yaletown BIA to develop a new plan.

Presenter: Annette O’Shea, Executive Director, Yaletown BIA

2. Property Taxation 101

At City Hall, 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.  We won’t make you an expert in 75 minutes but we will give you the basics of how it all works, help you separate the truth from the alternative facts as well as show you how this information and understanding is critical to the health and viability of your BIA neighbourhoods.

Presenters: Paul Sullivan, Senior Partner at Burgess, Crawley, Sullivan & Associates, Ltd., Sharon Townsend, South Granville BIA

3. Bizmap: Data Collection and Evaluation Made Easy 

Bizmap is a ground-breaking effort to provide a common set of data and processes designed to help BIAs evaluate and compare progress among districts, and promote economic development. Developed by Small Business BC in partnership with Vancouver BIAs and the City of Vancouver, Bizmap provides BIAs with district specific data in order to know their customer base, guide forward planning, and make the case for continued investment and support.

Presenters:  Sara Clark, Head of Strategic Projects, Small Business BC; Patricia Barnes, IDA Director; Executive Director, Hastings North BIA; Peter Vaisbord, Coordinator, BIA Program, City of Vancouver


Networking Refreshment Break


Concurrent Breakout Sessions

1. How to build a Rockstar Board

What does it take to inspire, motivate, and engage your volunteer leadership? Start by looking in the mirror. Top volunteer talent is attracted to well-run organizations. What is needed to make your BIA a “go-to” organization? Why should someone join your Board? What talent do you need in the boardroom? Who fits this profile? Once you find them, how do you keep them? Are you recruiting for future leadership succession? During this workshop you’ll find out how to build a stage for your Board members to perform like rockstars. You’ll walk away with the tools, knowledge, a clear understanding of what you need to do to create your Rockstar Board!

Presenter: Weldon LeBlanc

2. Partnerships in Placemaking

Enhancing the public realm through activating and managing public space is a proven strategy that Business Associations have the capacity and motivation to employ. We strive to create a place people want to spend time in because business and development follow the people. Following “The Wheel” workshop in Nanaimo this session further explores one of the community building spokes and the encircling rubber that hits the road – partnerships. We can have a significant, positive impact within our neighbourhoods by leveraging our resources and influence to develop multiple partnerships. These provide strength and sustainability. Come prepared to learn, engage and share ideas.

Presenter: Gay Pooler.

3. Social Media Trends

The digital marketing world is evolving everyday, and as hard as it may be to keep up with the changing trends, it could be the most important thing that you do for your business or organization. This session will highlight the importance of understanding social media from a engagement perspective and executing effective digital marketing strategies when it comes to reaching your goals. Nikki Csek is a partner at one of the largest full service digital agency in the B.C. interior.

Presented by Nikki Csek, Csek Creative &


Time on Your Own



Best in the West Awards & Cocktail Reception

Join us for a cocktail, light appetizers, networking and the awarding of the 2018 Best in the West Awards.

7:00pm onwards

Dinner on your own

Our valued


















Conference Partner
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