Face to Face: New face for Tsawwassen BIA
Barb Westlake remembers when Tsawwassen was the place to be, and as the new executive director of the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association, she hopes to inject some energy into her town, and once again make it a destination for shoppers and visitors.
“We’re all invested in making Tsawwassen a vibrant community,” she says. “I’m hoping to tap into that.”
Westlake was most recently the coordinator for Deltassist’s Christmas Campaign. The non-profit organization had a record year for its Christmas Hamper program in 2012, providing toys for 610 families with 783 children, the most ever.
Westlake says she comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so when she began her career as a school teacher in the 1980s in Penticton, it was only natural for her teach business education.
By the 1990s Westlake decided she had enough of teaching about business, and decided to go into business herself, opening up an import company with a wholesale retail outlet in Tsawwassen.
Back then there was never any trouble finding volunteers for community events
“Everyone was so gung-ho, and there was all this energy and so much great stuff happening,” she says of the Tsawwassen business community. “That’s my vision for what it could be again.”
People networked like crazy, and businesses were always eager to help other businesses.
Westlake says she is looking at rebranding the BIA, and looking at improving connections with local community groups to help put on events, such as the much-loved Outdoor Movie Nights.
She says the BIA’s upcoming annual general meeting will help determine the the future direction of the organization.
“What we have to ask ourselves, is are we event-based, or are we business-based,” she says.