Members of the Mission Downtown Business Association elected four new directors and said goodbye to their president last week as the group held its 20th annual general meeting.
Carlo Billinger had to step down as president of the association, having served the maximum three-year term allowed. The board will select a new president in the coming weeks.
While Billinger is no longer president, he remains a member of the board.
“There are a lot of hours that go in, by the board,” he said to those who attended the meeting.
“A lot of people in this room were there 20 years ago when we started all this, and who knew 20 years later that we’d still be fighting the same struggles and working hard to maintain what we have,” said Billinger.
He said the most important thing is that the businesses care about the area, adding that newcomers to Mission appreciate what they offer.
“We’ve got a whole new crowd of people moving into this town who are actually walking around and looking at it and saying, ‘Wow! This is nice.’ They are appreciating, almost more, what we’ve got than the people who have been here all their lives.”
Billinger believes there is some momentum happening downtown and owners have to “take care” of their businesses.
“We have to wash our windows. We’ve got to go out every morning and sweep. We are accountable.”
As for the association itself, Billinger said during the past few years, it has been a good steward of its money in anticipation of having some revitalization.
“At this stage, we are not quite there yet, but we want to be in the process to have the money there to be able to do it.”
He thanked everyone who helped him during his term as president, calling it a “labour of love.”
During the AGM, Jonathan Fowler and Steve Yap were elected to one-year terms on the board, while Mandy Pechler and Sean Barry were elected to two-year terms.
They join current board members Billinger, Bethan Lane, Satti Grewal, Pia Ritch, Lynden Balisky, Tami Klassen, Hilde Tonkens and Greg Elford. All current members have one year left to serve.
It was also announced at the meeting that executive director Jamie Hayes has signed a new two-year contract.