Kerri Milton, pictured here at the Victoria News’ 2017 Women in Business awards gala at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa, has parted ways with the Downtown Victoria Business Association, for which she served as executive director since summer 2016. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Former DVBA head breathed new life into Victoria organization: board chair

Business association board removes executive director Kerri Milton after just 16 months

The Downtown Victoria Business Association has parted ways with executive director Kerri Milton, effective Monday.

DVBA board chair Suzanne Bradbury confirmed Tuesday that Milton was removed from the position under the terms of her contract with the organization, which allowed the board to make a change within the first 36 months. While the board finds itself without someone permanently heading up DVBA operations heading into the busy Christmas season, Bradbury sounded confident that the organization is in good shape, due in large part to the work Milton did in her 16 months on the job.

“She certainly accomplished what we had hoped in terms of a real refresh for the organization,” Bradbury said. “We have a lot to move forward on.”

DVBA board members have taken over the day-to-day management of the operation. The executive search firm that recruited Milton out of the Downtown Penticton Association, where she served in a similar capacity for three years, is still under contract and is being used to find her replacement in Victoria.

Milton, who agreed to let the DVBA handle comments about the change, “threw a ton of energy” into updating internal systems like the website and strengthening ties with stakeholders such as the City of Victoria, Tourism Victoria and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Bradbury said.

“She breathed fresh life into a lot of our older programs, which has been really beneficial for the organization and the downtown,” she said.

In terms of helping promote downtown merchants and businesses during the holiday season, Bradbury said the DVBA has “exciting things planned for Christmastime,” some of which are already in the works. And despite the absence of an executive director, she said downtown is “booming” right now and “we have excellent, extremely professional staff to keep all of the existing projects moving forward.”

Milton will be paid a severance package, terms of which were not disclosed. Listed by the DVBA among her accomplishments during her tenure were the rebranding of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the completion of the Waddington Alley Lighting and Pop Up Art in the Square projects, the launch of Victoria’s first park and ride and the start of the Shared Arts Space.

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