Executive Director Donna Petrie and President Susan Simosko of the Sidney BIA at a farewell evening, June 19. (Dale Naftel/PNR Publisher)

Executive Director Donna Petrie and President Susan Simosko of the Sidney BIA at a farewell evening, June 19. (Dale Naftel/PNR Publisher)

Sidney BIA says sad goodbye to president and executive director

Susan Simosko and Donna Petrie leave, board members fill new positions

Sidney bids farewell to two hard-working figures at the Business Improvement Association (BIA).

President Susan Simosko and executive director Donna Petrie both announced they are leaving the organization and the news was met with a number of tributes from the business community.

ALSO READ: Patriotic al-fresco dining experience returns in Sidney

Petrie says she arrived in Sidney five years ago, when the BIA was a fledgling organization with a mandate “to increase footsteps,” but little more. She says there was no strategic plan, policies or procedures, and almost no members, but Sidney was “a charming place, with dedicated business owners and commercial property owners.” Petrie called the 2008 recession “devastating” for businesses and she was keen to help improve the local business climate.

”As I leave Sidney for a new career opportunity, I look back and realize how much we’ve achieved together. The town is bustling with residents, visitors from nearby communities, and many from much further afield. Hotels report continuously high occupancy rates. Our not-for-profit organizations report growing numbers of event attendees. And many businesses report steady increases in profitability,” she said.

Simosko looks forward to a well-deserved rest after six “intense” years at the Sidney BIA and 14 years of volunteering before that.

She says her proudest achievement is helping contribute to a healthy business climate. In May and June of this year, the BIA conducted a survey of all 350 businesses represented by the organization. They learned that 60 per cent of the businesses who responded, experienced an increase in profitability over the preceding year and another 20 per cent “remained about the same.”

ALSO READ: Researchers say ‘text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millenials’ skulls

Over Petrie and Simosko’s tenure, the BIA has engaged with not-for-profit organizations and commercial property owners. Simosko describes non-profits as “critically important economic drivers,” and calls commercial property owners “the investors and in some cases, visionaries of Sidney.”

“When the BIA was renewed for another five-year mandate two years ago, we had, in essence, a 94 per cent approval rating. Over the past few years, we have sponsored breakfast meetings and other forums for property owners to express their views. I believe many are far more engaged with the community than they were before the BIA was established,” said Simosko.

With the support of her team, Petrie spearheaded initiatives to increase the value of the BIA’s free media exposure, what they calculate to be $170,000 worth. And while some business owners might not have always agreed with the BIA, the board says they always listen with respect and maintain clear lines of communication with the community. It is believed the new-look board want to continue welcoming ideas and feedback.

ALSO READ: Sidney welcomes spicy new arrival

“I leave Sidney feeling proud of the BIA’s achievements and confident that it can continue to sustain and grow Sidney’s magic,” said Petrie.

The new Sidney BIA board is: Brad Edgett (president), Shai Thompson (vice-president), Morgan Shaw (executive director) and directors Kathy Blaine, Rod Laurie, Natalie King, Chris Cowland, Sarah Matchett, Dale Naftel, Kim Bremner, Devon Bird and Christina Georgeadis.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Downed trees account for the majority of power outages, according to BC Hydro, which plans to spend more money on tree pruning and hazardous tree removal in coming years in the face of changing weather and growing patterns caused by climate change. (Photo courtesy of the City of Langford)
BC Hydro says safety guides tree removal policy

Crown corporation says it will work with property owners wherever possible

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amount from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Summer camps held by SEAPARC in Sooke and by West Shore Parks and Recreation are gearing up for a playful season. (SEAPARC photo)
Sooke, West Shore summer camps prepping to welcome youngsters

Registration opening for both day and week-long camps

Sidney council approved a broad package of tax relief measures, but concerns about its timing and effectiveness remain. (Black Press Media File).
President of cannabis company considers legal action against Sidney

Sidney already lost one legal action by another cannabis retailer in summer 2020

A photograph of the real firearm beside the replica firearm seized by VicPD in the early hours of April 18. (Courtesy VicPD)
Police seize loaded firearm, drugs during traffic stop in Victoria

Officers find cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl along with loaded handgun

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read