After helping to draw large crowds downtown this summer to Ottawa 2017 celebrations, Nathalie Carrier’s next job is to entice visitors and residents alike to venture a little farther east.
The events production professional was recently named the new executive director of the Quartier Vanier BIA, which represents 466 businesses in the area.
She replaces former executive director Jamie Kwong, who resigned over the summer.
For more than a decade, Vanier’s business leaders have worked to promote the neighbourhood’s affordable land prices, proximity to downtown and diverse population. Despite these efforts, Vanier has so far failed to see a wave of gentrification that’s reshaped other inner-city Ottawa neighbourhoods such as Hintonburg.
Ms. Carrier acknowledges the area still has a perception problem, with some residents associating Vanier with crime, drugs and prostitution.
However, as a former resident of Toronto’s Kensington Market in her 20s and 30s, Ms. Carrier has seen firsthand how areas such as Vanier can overcome these challenges.
“We are going to need to beautify this area more through the arts and events, some of which I hope to bring in,” she said. “We need to convince the community to come in and support its local businesses.”
Ms. Carrier added she has ideas for additional initiatives that she’ll first be bringing to the BIA board.
The Quartier Vanier BIA represents businesses primarily along three commercial roads. Ms. Carrier says each needs to be addressed differently.
“Beechwood (Avenue) is thriving and is living up to the expectation of an urban neighbourhood,” she said. “Montreal Road has a variety of both, with thriving businesses coming in and still dealing with the challenges. You look at McArthur (Avenue), which is a complex neighbourhood.”
However, Ms. Carrier said the commercial diversity of the area is one of its strengths.
“There is every kind of business from dry cleaners, to your typical corner store, to bars and restaurants, and even dental and doctor's offices,” she said. “There are businesses in Vanier that have been there since I've been a kid.”
Ms. Carrier’s appointment drew praise from the councillor for the area, who said her local roots will aid her in the position.
“Nathalie, who grew up in Vanier, brings strong awareness of the community,” Coun. Mathieu Fleury said in a statement. “With her work experience including with her latest role at Ottawa 2017, she brings contacts and an ability to grow the business community in our community and expand the events that the BIA will organize in the future.”
Salvation Army shelter
One of the first files to hit Ms. Carrier’s desk is the Salvation Army’s proposal to construct a new shelter on Montreal Road. In a draft report released late Friday, city staff endorsed the development proposal despite opposition by the BIA.
“If it does happen and we do end up having a large Salvation Army as a neighbour, then we are going to have to work with them and the other neighbours around them,” Ms. Carrier said, adding that she’s concerned the shelter could have a negative impact on local businesses.
“All we can do is say what we have to say and then we have to roll up our sleeves and do what has to be done. We do oppose it, but we don’t oppose offering social services.”
Ms. Carrier officially starts her new job on Wednesday.
– By Charlie Senack
New head of Wellington West BIA
The business community along Hintonburg’s main commercial road has a new leader.
Dennis Van Staalduinen has been appointed the new executive director of the Wellington West BIA, a job that was formerly held by Zachary Dayler.
Mr. Van Staalduinen is a marketing strategist and the president of Ottawa-based Brandvelope Consulting. He’s also a part-time professor at Algonquin College.
Farther west, officials with the Kanata North BIA say they are close to naming a replacement for executive director Jenna Sudds, who resigned earlier this year.