Meeting of the Members

We encourage you to reach out to Rachel at any time 289-228-0761 or with questions.

Meeting of the Members Registration

On Monday, November 14th the St. Catharines Downtown Association (SCDA) is hosting a Meeting of the Members to vote in a new term of Board of Directors. Board terms follow that of City Council, and as this is an election year a new term will begin for our Board of Directors as well. All are invited to attend, however please note that there are eligibility requirements for both those wanting to run, and those who are able to vote.

This meeting will be held in person at the St. Catharines Public Library in addition to ZOOM.

When: Monday, November 14th @ 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: St. Catharines Library (and online – please choose below)





Who can attend?

Anyone, our meetings are open to all, however, please be aware that not everyone can vote. We strongly encourage those looking to attend to pre-register in order for eligibility to vote to be checked prior to the meeting.

Why should you attend?

All available business owners and commercial property owners in the Downtown should attend in order to have your vote on who will be leading and directing the SCDA for the next 4 years.

Who can vote?

Eligibility to vote on candidates for the Board of Management of the St Catharines Downtown Association (BIA) o Every person who owns a commercial or industrial property within an area where a business improvement area (BIA) is established, who is shown on the last revised assessment roll of the City of St Catharines is responsible for paying the BIA levy, is subject to receiving notices and therefore eligible to be appointed to the Board of Directors. o In the (BIA), every person who operates a business, either owning the business premises or holding them under a lease requiring the payment of property taxes, is subject to receiving notice and therefore is eligible to be appointed to the Board of Directors. o Every person operating a business in leased space under a gross lease is a member of the (BIA) whether or not the landlord has exercised the right to make the business owner responsible for the (BIA) levy. o Incorporated members shall be represented only by a named person so designated in the corporation’s official designation letter for that purpose filed with the City of St Catharines.

Does this replace the Annual General Meeting?

No, this is a special meeting focussed on electing the new Board. Per the recently adopted Public Appointments Policy from the City of St Catharines recruitment should be “held as soon as possible following the election”. Our Annual General Meeting will still be held in March and at that meeting we will provide a recap of 2022 and share upcoming initiatives for 2023.

Please review the following 2022 Candidates for the St. Catharines Downtown Association Board of Directors.

2022 Board of Director Candidates

Stefan Ali

Candidate: Stefan Ali

Business: Hourglass Barbershop

Interest in the Position: 

I would like to contribute by sharing my voice and providing my network in terms of innovation and growth of the culture within Downtown St Catharines.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

  • Prior to opening Hourglass Barbershop I studied Knesiology and Business at Western University and Economics at Brock university. I was also a teller at Scotiabank for 3 years and was a Financial Advisor for 1 year before taking a leap of faith and opening a business in the lane of my passion in my hometown. Lived in St Catharines since the age of 2 years old.
  • Lived in London and Toronto for a few years and I would like to introduce everything I’ve learned from those cities to St Catharines.

BIA Involvement:

Took part in St Catharines Enterprise Centre grant and mentorship programs, was a grant recipient of the Starter Company Plus Program and was a mentor for the second series of applicants.

Mark Avedesian

Candidate:  Mark Avedesian

Business: Century 21 Avmark Realty Limited, Brokerage

Interest in the Position: 

I have been a business owner for over 25 years and a downtown property owner for 20 years. I have seen many changes in the downtown core over the years, some positive and some not so positive, I feel that with the experience and vested interest in our downtown and in the city, I feel I will be able to make positive contributions.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

Have been an advocate of our Downtown and have always been positive about the St. Catharines and the core. We have in Ontario one of the best downtown core areas with Meridian Centre and Performing Arts Centre.

BIA Involvement:

None at this time.

Stephen Bedford

Candidate: Stephen Bedford

Business Name: Stephen Bedford Consulting

Interest in the Position:

Vibrant downtowns are an important component of a growing and energetic community. As a community planner & volunteer I have focused on downtown development and social issues. In St. Catharines in the early 80’s I was involved in many redevelopment initiatives as a municipal employee. In Saint John NB I was a BIA Board Member and initiated and participated in many downtown initiatives including a Downtown Plan. In NOTL as Director of Planning, the Old Town was a significant priority. I spent 1 term as a Board Member of the International Downtown Association. We need to work together and focus on making the downtown a progressive business environment & take steps to implement the Provincial and Regional direction to be a Provincial Growth Centre.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

I am a professional planner and experienced government and non profit executive. The statement above covers this question as well.

BIA Involvement:

For 2 years I have been the Vice Chair of the SCDA Board. I participated in the events and activation committees and was an active board member attending all executive and board meetings. Over the last 2 years the Board has prepared and adopted a strategic plan.

John Blanchard

Candidate: John Blanchard

Business: Hughson Business Space

Interest in the Position: 

I am a business owner that represents the owner of several properties and parking lots in Downtown St Catharines. I hope to continue to use my contacts and resources to help support the BIA in making the Downtown St Catharines a better place to do business for everyone.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

As a Property Manager I believe I bring a direct approach to the tasks and information for the better of all businesses. I am not a retailer or a food service user. I have several of both types of tenants we deal with every day, along with the regular office space, having these different viewpoints helps come to the table from a different angle compared to people that are only based in one industry. 

BIA Involvement:

I am currently on the BIA board and on the Executive Committee as the secretary. I have been on the BIA for a few terms neow, usually just as a regular member and more recently since Rachel had been on board I have been part of the executive. I attend every meeting I can and don’t believe I have missed too many over the few terms I have been involved. I keep checking in with the office and ensuring if there is anything else I can do for them fairly regularly. 

Matthew Bodis

Candidate: Matthew Bodis

Business: Frontier Barbers and Company

Interest in the Position: 

As a business owner in St. Catharines, I would like to do my part in growing and building the downtown core. 

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

I have experience in Brand management, business building, team leading.

BIA Involvement:

I do not have experience working with the BIA but I am looking to gain experience

Joshua Boycott

Candidate: Joshua Boycott

Business: Ludology

Interest in the Position: 

While I have only served for a brief period of time I have participated in several board meetings. My primary focus is on development of business through beautification, strong policy, and the formation of grander and larger events.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

  • Former Scouts Canada Leader
  • College Diploma in Police Foundations
  • Undergrad with honours in political science specializing in inter relations
  • Masters degree in comparative policy focussing on development
  • Have our business Downtown
  • Have another business which facilitates travelling to various downtowns across the country

BIA Involvement:

  • On all subcommittees – chairing two
  • Spearheading pilot project for beautification downtown to offset missing planters in the fall season and utilize vacant planter poles
  • Coordinated with neighbour to expand lighting downtown with plans to expand further while pushing the city for a more permanent project

David Cooperman

Candidate: David Cooperman

Business: Cooperman Real Estate Inc

Interest in the Position: 

Many years of Commercial Real Estate and Development involving many projects downtown. Interested in further residential and commercial projects to assist in housing solutions supplemented with commercial developments to assist people living and working downtown.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

Owns a real estate brokerage, development and property management companies, with many properties in the downtown area. Quality and proven leadership skills. Presently a SCDA Board member and Treasurer of Community Living St Catharines. Former chairman of a non profit charitable foundation.

BIA Involvement:

SCDA board member 20+ years. Member of the St Catharines Mayors special Task Force to attract and advice the city on economic development and business matters. Chairman of the former ‘Development Process Review Committee” of the City of St Catharines. Former chairman of Downtown Parking Advisory committee, St Catharines and subsequent Special City Council Parking Advisory Committee, which is now an active committee of City Council.

Darryl Hanam

Candidate: Darryl Hanam

Business: Absolute Impact Marketing

Interest in the Position: 

I am looking to be part of an effective dynamic team setting that supports a thriving and accessible Downtown. I believe that my commitment to success, motivation, skills, experience and personality would make a valuable addition to the Board.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

  • Experience on DTA committees
  • Downtown BIA resident since 1991, business operator since 2009.
  • BIA property owner and landlord
  • Previous local musical festival organizer
  • Lifelong involvement in local sports and music
  • Skills: strategy, design, promotion, communication, profitability

BIA Involvement:

  • Downtown beautification committees.
  • Downtown development and revitalization committee
  • Streetscape and Sustainability committee

Cheryl Howlett

Candidate: Cheryl Howlett

Business: Smoke’s Poutinerie

Interest in the Position: 

I would like to contribute to the ever growing landscape of our downtown. I have, and will continue to serve on committees that work to grow and benefit all in the downtown core. 

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

  • I have a marketing background
  • I have worked with different outreach programs and fundraisers for the Niagara Region
  • I have been running our businesses in the downtown core for 10+ years

BIA Involvement:

  • I have contributed to the marketing committee
  • I have served on the road closures/activations committee for over a year

James Johnson

Candidate: James Johnson

Business: 28-36 James St

Interest in the Position: 

Have been longtime supporter of Downtown business, entertainment, growth, fostering new life into Downtown.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

As a property manager, have many experiences and management board meetings

BIA Involvement:

As property manager I am involved with committees, re property rental and growth of downtown

Orhan Kerim

Candidate: Orhan Kerim

Business: Erroll’s Shoe and Luggage Repair

Interest in the Position: 

Hello! I have a 35 year history being in Downtown St Catharines. Over 35 years I have built relationships with Mayors (City Hall) The Police, Fire Department and work closely with the Economic team and my neighbours / businesses for the betterment of the Downtown. Helped with the build of the amazing Meridian Centre

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

  • I was exposed to business and public at a very early age of 14 years old at our first location at the Pen Centre. 
  • Our dear family friend and neighbour was a lawyer and senior partner with the largest law firm downtown and taught me business practices when I was just starting in business in 1987.
  • Renting our commercial and residential properties
  • Learned a lot from my dads friends who were in business in the 1950’s and up

BIA Involvement:

  • Early years went to various meeting / townhall gatherings, voiced opinions for the improvement and progression of our downtown. Helped mediate between merchants and downtown association.
  • Helped rent or sell business downtown
  • Worked with the police for installation of cameras in the downtown
  • Worked with city involving our lands to build Meridian Centre
  • Promoter of our downtown in other visited downtowns
  • Worked with parking committee and safety

Katie MacCabe

Candidate: Katie MacCabe

Business: Wandering Spirits

Interest in the Position: 

As someone who spends most of my time, business and pleasure in downtown, I am passionate about ensuring that we create an environment, as business owners, that bolsters all aspects of our community to make a supportive, safe and thriving downtown core.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

  • Undergraduate degree from Brock (BSc. in Biological sciences and Political Science)
  • Post graduate diploma from Niagara College (Public Relations)
  • Sit on the board for CASON as secretary
  • Marketing specialist at Suitcase in Point
  • Part-owner at Wandering Spirits Coffee and Cocktails

BIA Involvement:

Jennifer McKenna

Candidate: Jennifer McKenna

Business: Little Chief and Co

Interest in the Position: 

Co-founder of Little Chief and Co. Previously scientist / engineer. I hope to continue to do the work we have already been dedicated to and expand on it, such as, events, outreach and increasing communication and involvement of the membership, clean-up and implementing the city and DTAs strategic plan to help encourage prosperous growth in our catchment, collaborating with the City, Region and Membership.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

I have a diploma / degree / masters but nothing is more important than my grit and will to roll up my sleeves and put in the work required for our Downtown.

BIA Involvement:

Been on multiple BoD’s, namely downtown St Catharines NSI (Niagara Sustainability Initiative) with respect to relevancy and proximity. Help out on DTA committees such as FamJam and Streetscape and Sustainability.

Britt Moran

Candidate: Britt Moran

Business: Adam’s Flora

Interest in the Position: 

To be a part of the growth and changes in downtown, we are looking to bring a fresh new view into locally based businesses that operate within the downtown core.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

  • Local hair salon and spa business owner with 29k following
  • Marketing manager for competitive gaming company
  • Local farmer
  • Local business owner

BIA Involvement:

Participated in most promenades, have a good standing relationship with the BIA, always excited to hear of upcoming events and include our business to be a part of the revival!

Karen Orlandi

Candidate: Karen Orlandi

Business: Silver Spire United Church

Interest in the Position:

I have been working in the downtown core for five years full time and for several years on the outskirts. The church is an anchor in the downtown core, and is fast becoming a hub for art and social justice activities. I believe in this area and the people who work, live and play here. I am very active in the work with homelessness, addictions and mental health, providing services such as meals and hygiene facilities. We also have programming for the arts, in our main tenants of Carousel Players and the Willow Arts Community. My own background in project management, marketing, retail and the arts beneficial to all folks who frequent the area for whatever purposes.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

One of my favourite jobs I have ever had was running Beadworks, located in Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle and Edmonton. They are fast-paced, exciting and financially successful businesses, which still prosper today. I enjoyed the interaction with our customers, and the simple joy of finding the right products for each person, and making their visit to our stores the best part of the day.

I am also trained in Conflict Management, Project Management, Process Facilitation Levels I & II and am currently working on finishing my M.A. in Social Justice and Equity Studies. I am also a representative on the Canadian Council of Churches: Commission on Justice and Peace with the Anti-Racism Working Group. I have strong networking skills, especially within the St. Catharines area.

BIA Involvement:

I have been the Silver Spire’s representative to the Downtown Business Association for several years and have enjoyed getting more involved in creating a dynamic downtown core. We have initiated an annual open house for Carousel, Willow and Silver Spire, and planter boxes, open our lawn for sales and children’s activities, hosted speakers and marches, and even launched albums and books from our doorstep. Our goal as an institution is to become a hub for arts and social justice activities for all ages, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and socio-economic demographics. We are dedicated to building community in the area where so many work, live, shop and play.

Aleksandar Rakovevic

Candidate: Aleksandar Rakocevic

Business: ARC Consulting

Interest in the Position: 

I’ve been living a significant part of my life downtown St. Catharines my entire life since I started playing wargames in 1996. If I was going out to a bar or restaurant, it was always downtown. Over the years I’ve run or helped to run a number of charity and other events here (including the St. Catharines zombie walk). I’ve always loved downtown and wanted to find a way to give back. I spent the last 8 years working and living in Calgary, but have recently moved back to NIagara due to an illness in the family. I have a workshop and office downtown and have started a business doing event promotion with a focus on downtown. My goal is to bring more cultural events and concerts to downtown on a regular basis.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

I spent 13 years running the local chapter of Zombiesquad, a US registered 401c(3) nonprofit educational charity that focused on charity involvement, disaster preparedness and resiliency education. During that time I ran 32 different charity fundraisers as well as helping with a large number of non-charity events. My professional career is as a facilitator and practitioner of Kepner-Tregoe decision making and problem solving methodology. These are skills I will lend to the downtown BIA free of charge to make sure we are staying focused and acting in the best interest of our members.

BIA Involvement:

I’ve recently joined two subcommittees (Streetscapes & Sustainability and Marketing) in the BIA and will be joining a 3rd (Events) at the next meeting.

Sarah Yurkiw

Candidate: Sarah Yurkiw

Business: Ruby Red Beautiful

Interest in the Position: 

I have a deep, long standing love for our downtown core. I feel very connected to the community of residents, business owners and patrons. As the current board chair, I have brought new ideas to the table and have and will continue to dedicate myself and much of my energy to growing a thriving and vibrant downtown core, by contributing ideas, and working in whatever capacity I need to toward this goal.

Relevant Skills and Experiences:

I have a background in management, event planning and music promotion and an education in office administration. I have worked with SCENE music festival and interned for Bedlam Music Management/Dine Alone Records. Have planned many events and concerts in Downtown St. Catharine. And my work on the current board of directors, I believe speaks to the relevancy of these experiences. This past summer I worked as half of James St. Market, and organized community markets, all summer long.

BIA Involvement:

In a short period of time, I’ve made a long list. Just over a year ago I joined my first SCDA Committee. I started with Activations and then Events. I began chairing the Events committee and then applied for a position on the board of directors. After joining the board in February, I was asked to chair and then joined the Executive committee as well as Governance. I have also been on at least 4 different event specific subcommittees throughout the last year/ When I first applied to the board earlier this year, I said that regardless of whether or not I am elected to the board, I will continue to do the work, and put my energy and resources into the wellbeing and vibrancy of the downtown core. This holds true now