The Downtown Victoria Business Association has reached out to a former MLA whose riding once encompassed the geographic bounds he is now overseeing.
Jeff Bray, who has been working as a public affairs consultant in recent years and has previously done work for the DVBA, is in his second week as the organization’s interim executive director.
He joins the marketing and advocacy group at a busy time of year downtown, not quite a month after the DVBA board parted ways with former executive director Kerri Milton.
“When this opportunity came up and I had conversations with the board and the chair, I told them I’d be delighted to provide them with assistance in this transition period,” Bray said.
An executive search firm is in the process of finding candidates to take over the job permanently, with the goal of having someone in place by early spring next year.
Suzanne Bradbury, the association’s chair, said the board appreciates Bray’s willingness to step in with the holiday shopping season in high gear.
“Jeff’s knowledge of the DVBA, his respect for the membership and his strong relationships with DVBA stakeholders make him well suited to steward the association’s many exciting projects and initiatives through the first quarter of 2018,” she said in a release.
Bray, who served as Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA from 2001 to 2005, said he’s doing his best to guide and support DVBA staff to encourage people to come downtown to shop, dine, relax and otherwise do business.
He’s also bringing himself up to speed on such downtown concerns as parking and other business-related issues.
“Parking is one that is top of the agenda for everybody,” he said. “In part, it’s a sign of just how vibrant and strong downtown is that that is a challenge.”
The DVBA works closely with such bodies as the City of Victoria, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Tourism Victoria on joint opportunities and areas of concern, including access to businesses.
“We’re looking for a multitude of solutions to enable people to commute downtown, or dine or see their dentist,” Bray said. “We have the park and ride (at Douglas Street and Frances Avenue), and are working to find other ways to make it easy for people to come downtown, including bringing their car.”
The DVBA oversees a number of business and community initiatives, especially at this time of year. The roaming Santa and horse-drawn carriage programs downtown recently kicked off, and the DVBA will play a key role when Comic-Con comes to town next March.
For more on their activities, visit downtownvictoria.ca or call 250-386-2238.