Downtown chair stays on

The 2009 chair of the Red Deer Downtown Business Association has committed to another year at the organization’s helm.

The 2009 chair of the Red Deer Downtown Business Association has committed to another year at the organization’s helm.

Al Gamble of Beca International Ltd. will head up the DBA’s 2010 executive, which was announced on Wednesday. Serving with him on the board will be Jennifer Powell of Alberta Employment and Immigration (vice-chair), Philip Boivin of Red Deer Co-op (treasurer), Mark Poty of Venture Tax, Katherine Bouchard of Crop Hair Boutique, Laura Cadrin of La Petite Jaune Fleur, Shauna Fisher of La Casa Pergola, Davin Kemshead of Century 21 Advantage and Records to the Rafters, Terry Krause of Alberta Tourism Parks and Recreation, and John Mytz of the Red Deer Lodge.

City Councillor Tara Veer will represent the City of Red Deer on the DBA board. “I was excited about what we’ve done for 2009,” said Gamble of the past year.

Among the DBA’s recent achievements that he listed were strategic planning, the street-cleaning program and the association’s role in helping develop and implement the city’s Greater Downtown Action Plan.

Gamble also praised Laura Turner, the association’s executive director, for keeping the city and downtown businesses informed about DBA activities.

Looking ahead, Gamble said the DBA hopes to increase staff, including a shared position with the CentreFest committee. That would help it play a bigger role in the annual downtown street festival.

He also wants to encourage staff and board members to attend international conferences involving like-minded organizations.

“I have been to two international downtown business association conferences and I think they’re phenomenal,” he said, explaining that many of the issues the Red Deer association deals with — from marketing the downtown to working with homeless people — are being effectively addressed elsewhere.

“We can learn from going and hearing what they have to say.”

Gamble said the DBA board also hopes to pursue some innovative marketing initiatives in the coming year.

He expressed confidence that the current board will be able to effect positive change.

“They understand the issues of what we’re trying to tackle and I think are working well to achieve a better downtown.”

Beca International is the developer behind the Executive Place office tower in downtown Red Deer, which is nearing completion.