The White Rock Business Improvement Association‘s executive director has resigned.
Douglas Smith stepped down from the position last Thursday, two years after he took over the job in July 2014.
A BIA newsletter issued Thursday offered no reasons for his departure, referring questions to the BIA office where “a board member will get back to you.”
Contacted by Peace Arch News Friday morning, BIA president Ernie Klassen declined comment, however, acknowledging only that there had been some “personal issues” between Smith and the board.
“He has resigned and I don’t have any comment beyond that – it’s up to Douglas to comment farther,” he said.
Reached by PAN, Smith said his decision stemmed from a board decision to change the governance model for the BIA a few months ago.
“I’ve not been able to reach a decision about how the board wanted to move forward,” he said.
“At this point, I’m not sure that I’m the man for the job. I don’t think that we’re going to come to a new contract agreement that would be suitable. The board wants to operate in a different fashion than before.” Smith added he believes the BIA may be moving toward contracting out promotional and special-event co-ordination work.
“I’m a pretty independent operator – I like to go for it,” Smith said.
“We’ll see if this if this is the right direction for them.”
He noted that his own event management company is active, and said he has many options to pursue.
“The timing is very good for me to point the arrow in a different direction,” he added, insisting that his parting from the BIA is “very amicable.”
“I’m sure that they can find somebody who will work better for them – I wish the organization the best of luck. I think I’ve left it in a very good state – we’ve accomplished a lot over the last two years.”
Thursday’s newsletter praised the time, passion, and energy Smith had devoted to managing and operating the BIA.
“He has been an advocate for stakeholders, developed promotional activities for businesses, and coordinated festivals and events that promote business activity in the four BIA districts,” it states.
“On behalf of the business community of White Rock, the board wishes to thank Douglas for his role as executive director.”
The BIA – mandated to strengthen economic vitality within the association’s geographic area – is funded by a special municipal levy on all city businesses, based on each business’ assessed property values, collected by the City of White Rock.
Smith had told PAN earlier this month, prior to the last weekend’s final performance in the BIA’s waterfront TD Concerts at the Pier series – which he spearheaded – that indications were good the series would return for a third year.
Asked if he still felt that way, he responded “absolutely.”
“We’ve been working on a lot of things that have got the community in a very good position for the future.”
Smith joined the association after serving as managing partner of Alliance West Sports & Entertainment, which created and produced events in the Lower Mainland.
Smith also previously served as economic development officer for the City of Parksville and was responsible for the organization of Surrey’s major annual events while serving as the city’s manager of filming and special events as well as organizing a successful series of concerts at New Westminster’s Quay.