The Results

While working with the Town of Oakville and the Bronte Business Improvement Area (BIA), Victoria worked as the Project Lead with an outside consultant to receive an award from the Economic Developers of Ontario (Feb 2013), the judges summarized the strength of our work as, “approach with outside consultant, BIA and in-house staff/departments is very good to facilitate understanding of issues, buy-in as the action plan is developed and to keep costs down”.

  • Phase 1 – Discovery Phase – Victoria suggested the Four Pillars of Main Street Approach for the area based on her award-winning work with BIAs in Haldimand County. The approach involved a focus on organization, marketing and events, design and finally economic development.
  • Phase 2 – Consultation – Other key factors that shaped the formation of the Bronte Business Action Plan were stakeholder feedback through workshops and interviews as well as an event where an expert panel with collective experience in design, finance and business development helped Bronte’s business stakeholders learn from other retail communities.
  • Phase 3 – Building the Bronte Business Action Plan Summary – Victoria worked with other project team members to produce this summary document that would serve as the primary document for retailers, the Bronte BIA Board and Town of Oakville staff to work together on the Four Pillars approach from 2012 to 2016.

Links to Global and Industry Trends

This approach was based on a couple of factors related to Victoria’s background and approach to working with community development stakeholders.

Previous to joining the Town of Oakville, Victoria had served as Haldimand County’s contact person on a downtown revitalization fund that provided funds to retailers in downtown areas within a rural municipality. While active in this role, she also completed training through the University of Waterloo in economic development. Through this professional development, research, analysis and application of the Main Street approach to Haldimand County, she initially became familiar with the four-pillar approach in 2009 through an important document created by the Heritage Canada Foundation for the Department Saskatchewan Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport.

One of the other strengths of the Bronte Business Action Plan formulation was the selection and implementation of an Expert Panel, to give examples of industry-leading practices in Port Credit, Toronto and other areas of the Greater Toronto Area.

Priorities Unique to this Situation

At the time, the Town of Oakville planning staff had created several reports on longer-range planning for the area. However, there was a need for the BIA to find a way to work with the local government on a set of priorities. There was also an acknowledgement that developing this kind of plan would help to attract further investment to the area.

The Bronte Business Action Plan Summary document served as the primary strategic planning document uniting retailers, the Board and political leadership. It served as a document to check in on priorities for now and the future.

When a new Executive Director was hired after 2020, they were able to build on this previous work to embark on another visioning process and action plan, entitled Bronte Forward, 2021. This document continued the previous work in the areas of design by providing a walkable retail area, providing way-finding for pedestrians, and cohesive parking management. This Bronte Forward document also continued the community’s branding work as outlined in the previous action plan summary by embracing its ‘vibrant waterfront assets’:

Bronte: Oakville’s waterfront district to stroll, shop and dine.
Savour the experience of Oakville’s waterfront with family and friends.

Please get in touch to arrange a short conversation to get started on responding to your industry, global and community needs and how we can work with you to respond to your unique strategic planning requirements over the next couple of years. Schedule your session now at [email protected]