NEBA became a member of Downtowns Atlantic Canada this spring, and both Patty and Tracy attended the DAC Conference in St. John, NB, from May 25 - May 27. It was a great opportunity to connect with Business Improvement District leaders and staff from around the Atlantic provinces, share best practices, and discuss issues and ideas for promoting downtowns and main-streets throughout the region. Highlights from the conference include a presentation from both the planner and BID leader of the the downtown Burlington Vermont plan (planBTV). The planBTV was passed around at the Centre Plan meeting at FRED on May 30th, —it provides some great inspiration. Stefano Grande, from Downtown Winnipeg, gave an informative presentation on the role of BIDs, which I will be sure to share when I get the notes. And Paul MacKinnon spoke about an important project he has been working on with Downtown Canada that looks at the value of investing in downtowns.
Other than the great presentations, it was a wonderful opportunity to visit downtown, I mean Uptown St. John. There has been a lot of effort there to preserve heritage buildings and create a unique and interesting downtown experience. We had the chance (on a craft beer tasting tour) to meet one local developer, Historica, who has been converting old buildings into new commercial and residential space. I'm sure Halifax could learn some lessons.